Day: May 9, 2014

Review of ‘#Havana 62’

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In 1962, with photographic evidence that the Soviets were assembling missile launching sites in Cuba, just miles off the U.S. coast, the world entered one of the most dangerous times of the 20th century – the threat of a nuclear confrontation between the USA and the USSR.

While some of what played out during this confrontation was covered by the media, it was only years afterwards that the world knew the full extent of the danger. What if, though, social media such as we have today, where people share some of their innermost thoughts with the universe, was present in 1962? Would we have been treated to hourly tweets of what the principal players on all sides were thinking and doing?

In #Havana 62: To the Brink of Nuclear War, author Philip Gibson gives us a day-by-day account of the confrontation through social media postings by Kennedy, Khrushchev, Castro, and others. A chilling account, most notably because it reduces what could have been a nuclear holocaust to 140 character postings in an almost matter of fact manner. Some of the entries strain credibility – one likes to think that some plans would have been kept secret in the interests of military security. But, having seen some of the tweets sent by senior government officials in the past few years, it is just possible that a lot of what Gibson posits would have in fact been posted.

This is not your usual thriller – no chase scenes, no damsels in distress – just a dry account from the minds of the actors. Makes for a compelling read – and is in many ways even scarier. Just when I thought the thriller genre was fixed in its format and methods, Gibson comes along and turns it on its ear. I received a free copy of #Havana 62 in exchange for my review. I began reading with a degree of trepidation – thinking initially that this wouldn’t work. I’m happy to say I was wrong, and the few security issues that I still think incredible didn’t spoil a fairly good read

Three and a half stars to Gibson for creativity.