AUTHORStern, Sheldon M.
TITLEAverting 'The Final Failure': John F. Kennedy and the Secret Cuban Missile Crisis Meetings
PUBLISHERStanford University Press
CITYStanford, CA
DATE PUBLISHED2003
ISBN0-8047-4846-2


In this book, historian Sheldon Stern narrates the decisions considered and made by U.S. President John F. Kennedy during the Cuban Missile Crisis based on Stern's laborious transcription of the tape recordings made of the meetings of the Executive Committee of the National Security Council (ExComm). Stern, who served as historian of the John F. Kennedy Library, offers a detailed and fascinating account of the secret meetings of ExComm, thereby clarifying controversial interpretations of Kennedy’s management of the crisis, giving the reader access to Kennedy’s thought processes in a way never before available, and solidifying Kennedy's reputation for astute diplomatic judgement in his response to the events of October 1962. The book begins with a commentary on and explanation of the history of the tapes themselves, which were secret even to most of the participants at the time and were eventually declassified, followed by a readable rendering of an edited transcription of the tapes structured by Stern’s narration of and commentary on the dialogue. The narrative begins on Tuesday, October 16, 11:50 A.M. and ends on Monday, October 29, about 12:30 P.M., followed by an epilogue. An appendix discusses discrepancies between prior transcripts and those made by Stern.


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