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Summary For thirteen days in October , America stood at the brink of nuclear war. Read on the Scribd mobile app Download the free Scribd mobile app to read anytime, anywhere.

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The history of the Cuban Missile Crisis - Matthew A. Jordan

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Cuban missile crisis

Chapter 1 is an overview of American attitudes toward communism, the cold war, and nuclear weapons. Chapter 2 deals with the federal government's haphazard attempts to prepare the nation for the possibility of a nuclear strike, and chapter 3 extends George's indictment of civil defense via an examination of local and individual responses to the threat of nuclear annihilation. Here her analysis builds upon prior studies and reaffirms the conclusions of scholars such as Guy Oakes, Kenneth Rose, Laura McEnaney, and Andrew Grossman that civil defense was at best a dismal failure and at worst an insidious deception by the federal government.

Chapter 4 focuses on the Kennedy administration's manipulation of the media during the crisis. Although the nation's journalists largely accepted the administration's version of events as the crisis was unfolding, in the aftermath the media became more skeptical.

Awaiting Armageddon: How Americans Faced the Cuban Missile Crisis

Chapter 5 deals with the political ramifications and repercussions of the crisis, and concludes that it [End Page ] largely benefited Kennedy and the Democrats in the midterm election. Finally, chapter 6 centers on the experiences of American children and young adults during the crisis. Children who faced the threat of nuclear annihilation also began to confront the "unthinkable" concept that perhaps the policies of adults were foolish and dangerous; this would contribute to the generational conflict that erupted in the latter s.

For scholars concerned with the interactions of technology and culture, the most interesting parts of George's book are her introduction and first chapter, in which she examines the complex relationship between the American public and nuclear technology. She provides a convincing answer to a question many other historians of cold war culture have pondered: Why was the American public so apathetic about the threat of nuclear war?


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George argues that "The Cold War created an immobilizing stalemate between two driving forces in American culture," the traditional American affinity for technology and the progress it promised, and the "nagging fear of infiltration, subterfuge, chaos, and a loss of civilization to 'the other'" pp. During the cold war, the fear of communist aggression and the realization that technology could no longer save the U. Thus, while George's analysis is centered on the missile crisis, she provides a persuasive explanation of the complexities of cold war culture in general.

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