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This paper aims to provide an overview and analysis of the book “Averting “The Final Failure” by the historian Sheldon Stern as well as the “Cuban Missile Crisis” chapter from the textbook “Crisis and Conflict”. The work will assess the credibility of the sources and their contents.
Averting the “Final Failure”
The book was written in 2003 for the Stanford University Nuclear Age series. It focuses on the role Kennedy played in preventing the nuclear confrontation during the Cuban Missile Crisis. The author Sheldon Stern is a PhD in history and the creator of the American History Project for High School Students. It seems that the author’s agenda is to simply demonstrate the insight new evidence can give. Stern specifically focuses on the Kennedy recordings, which is clearly stated in the title of the book. It can be concluded that author is impartial in his coverage of the Cuban Crisis. As a result, the source can be used as a reliable source of information on the inner workings of the American government during the Missile Crisis.
The source provides an invaluable insight into the role of John F. Kennedy and the American government in the Cuban incident. Not only does the book cover the meetings of that time extensively, but it also comments on them, providing historical context to the participants and explaining their reasoning and suggestions they made. As the source is a book meant for general public it is somewhat limited in its depth, providing a more shallow analysis appropriate for casual readers. The focus on making the tapes more digestible can be viewed as both a benefit and a shortcoming. For example, Stern writes: “McNamara assured the Illinois senator that amphibious craft were available and after reviewing two alternative invasion plans, promised that either plan would lead to victory”1, instead of providing the direct quote which could have been useful for analysis.
Cuban Missile Crisis
This source is a chapter from the “Crisis and Conflict” textbook. It describes the course of the Cuban Missile Crisis through historical documents. It can hardly be suspected of any bias, as there is barely any original text. The chapter mostly consists of the excerpts from various letters and addresses of the time.
The source provides the actual documents related to the Cuban Crisis that are valuable for my research. The only downside is the lack of commentary, making it difficult to put the papers in the appropriate context.
“Averting “The Final Failure” and “Cuban Missile Crisis” are trustworthy sources of information focusing on factual evidence. They do not push an agenda, and no specific point of view seems to color the evidence. They provide a lot of valuable and purely factual information about the Cuban Missile Crisis.
Stern, Sheldon M. Averting ‘The Final Failure’: John F. Kennedy and the Secret Cuban Missile Crisis Meetings. Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2003.
- Sheldon M Stern, Averting ‘The Final Failure’: John F. Kennedy and the Secret Cuban Missile Crisis Meetings (Stanford: Stanford University Press), 173.