This book exposes the misconceptions, half-truths, and outright lies that have shaped the still dominant but largely mythical version of what happened in the White House during those harrowing two weeks of secret Cuban missile crisis deliberations. A half-century after the event it is surely time to demonstrate, once and for all, that RFK's Thirteen Days and the personal memoirs of other ExComm members cannot be taken seriously as historically accurate accounts of the ExComm meetings.
Stern was the Historian at the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library from to He is author of Averting 'The Final Failure': Reached through sober analysis. Using tapes of ExComm meetings the ad hoc group formed to meet the crisis , Stern challenges much of the received wisdom.
In particular, he rejects Robert F. It provides a complicated and broad understanding of both the crisis and the Kennedy presidency.
Cover of The Cuban Missile Crisis in American Memory by Sheldon M. Stern Missile Crisis (), both in the Stanford University Press Nuclear Age Series. ycymeqolix.ga: The Cuban Missile Crisis in American Memory: Myths versus Reality (Stanford Nuclear Age Series) (): Sheldon M. Stern: Books.
Reached through sober analysis. Using tapes of ExComm meetings the ad hoc group formed to meet the crisis , Stern challenges much of the received wisdom. In particular, he rejects Robert F. Kennedy's dovish self-portrayal in Thirteen Days , finding instead a consistent hardliner who, for instance, opposed an American naval blockade in favor of air strikes.
Myths versus Reality is a seminal work of impressive scholarship and a highly recommended addition to academic library 20th Century American History reference collections in general, and 'U. Cox, The Midwest Book Review. Sheldon Stern's trenchant analysis, based on the most careful and exacting review to date of the ExComm's recorded conversations, turns the three traditional missile crisis lessons on their head.
He effectively demonstrates that the outcome depended on President Kennedy's repeated refusal to use or threaten to use force, and on his persistent search for a compromise that could end the stand-off peacefully. Most important, Stern highlights that the ExComm did not provide Kennedy with the well-considered advice he supposedly used to avoid war, but instead Kennedy directed its discussions towards the conclusions he sought.
This is a clearly written, timely, and significant contribution to our understanding of the Cuban missile crisis.