Thirteen Days Book Review

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The Cuban Missile Crisis was a defining moment in human history. It pitted two strong and very idealistic civilizations against one another in a situation where the outcome could have lasting and devastating effects on the entire world. The almost unthinkable consequences of a direct military confrontation between the two great nuclear states of the world were to be avoided. The decisions made by President John F. Kennedy during this crisis would define him, his administration, and his country. The President had no closer ally and no more trusted confidant than his brother, U. S. Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy. Thirteen Days: A Memoir of the Cuban Missile Crisis, written by Robert Kennedy, shows this intimate relationship through a chronological diary of Robert Kennedy’s perspective. The Cuban Missile Crisis defined the American resolve to stop communist influence in the Western Hemisphere. Thirteen Days is a chronicle of the Cuban Missile Crisis as seen through the eyes of the Robert Kennedy. It focuses on the diplomatic and legal efforts of the Kennedy brothers in resolving the issue of Soviet nuclear missiles inside Cuba. They strived to get some type of legal approval for any actions they took. This was done through the United Nations and the Organization of American States, or OAS. This memoir highlights the access and influence that Robert Kennedy had in the Kennedy administration. Thirteen Days takes a rational actor approach1 to the problem and tends to give less weight to organizational pressures2. The memoir brings the reader to the conclusion of the crisis, although it does seem to omit some key details. Others involved in the crisis had their own perspective of Robert Kennedy’s work on the crisis. As for the purpose of this memoir, it will remain unknown, since both John F. Kennedy and Robert Kennedy were assassinated3 prior to
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