A new brand of revisionism has joined the abundant literature on the Cuban missile crisis of 1962 (a crisis usually known in Moscow as the “Caribbean crisis” and in Havana as the “October crisis”). The Silent Guns of Two Octobers: Kennedy and Khrushchev Play the Double Game by Theodore Voorhees is undoubtedly the most audacious and arguably the most flawed of these revisionist interpretations. Some might see this book as conspiracy-theorizing, albeit with more conspiracy than theorizing.

Voorhees seeks to challenge the orthodoxy, and he succeeds on that score. But he fails to build a convincing case. His reach exceeds both his grasp and the evidence. His questions are alternatively provocative and misleading. His research—at least into some matters—is impressively deep. His arguments are often bizarre.

Voorhees begins his analysis of the 1962 missile crisis with a chapter-length account of the short-lived October 1961 U.S.-Soviet tank confrontation in Berlin (hence...

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