Strongly evoking the passions of the time, a straightforward, balanced account of a major victory in American diplomacy. Starting with an effective description of 1962's political climate, the author outlines Kennedy's hopeful presidency, rising tensions with the USSR and Cuba, and Soviet denials of their placement of offensive weapons in Cuba. He then provides detailed information on exactly how Kennedy and his advisors managed their end of the crisis and some Soviet politics as well. The story is enlivened with little-known facts: e.g., the Soviet embassy in Washington had to rely on bicycle messengers to carry its most urgent cables for transmission home. Each fact and bit of analysis is well-fitted into its historical context, clarifying why the crisis was important and what lessons were learned. Excellent reporting. Endnotes; chronology; list of major players; further reading; index.