27 October 1962 was known as 'Black Saturday' around the Kennedy White House. This was a day of nail-biting developments when the hands of the metaphorical Doomsday Clock reached one minute to midnight and the world grew closer than ever before (or since) to nuclear apocalypse. On Black Saturday, two Cold War leaders, John F. Kennedy and Nikita Krushchev, who represented rival ideological and military forces, mobilized their superpowers to fight a nuclear war on land, sea and air, then stepped back from the abyss, just as, in Bobby Kennedy's words, 'there was a feeling that the noose was tightening on all of us, on Americans, on mankind, and that the bridges to escape were crumbling'.
Michael Dobbs tells the story of 'Black Saturday' by taking the reader not just into the White House and the Kremlin but along the entire Cold War battlefront. We see inside U-2s and nuclear submarines; the armies gathering in Florida and Cuba; American warships and Cuban anti-aircraft batteries; the CIA, the NSA, the KGB; Cold War radio stations and listening posts; the feverish conspiracies of Cuban exiles; Castro's headquarters; Kruschev's dacha; the underground bunker being prepared for Kennedy; the streets of Washington and Moscow and Havana.
Using new archival material, Michael Dobbs brings a fresh perspective to the Cuban missile crisis, an epic moment in the 20th century that witnessed historic decisions, one of the greatest mobilizations of men and equipment since WWII and a cast of characters ranging from the ordinary to the larger than life, all with unique stories to tell.