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.

5 thoughts on “Review of ‘#Havana 62’

    Philip Gibson said:
    May 9, 2014 at 7:53 pm

    A very thoughtful and well-written review. Good job!

    About the “security issues” you mentioned: I wrestled with that one while writing the book. After all, it wouldn’t do for the U.S. generals to be broadcasting their military preparations, and the diplomats their strategies, etc. as you indicated.. The way I saw it is that the participants were on private networks (I referred to this in the book description), meaning that only JFK’s circle of selected associates could read his posts. Same with Castro, et.al. Then, years later, a hacker (me) was able to get into all those private accounts and compile them into a single social media feed…#Havana62.

    I used the same approach in my World War II books (#Berlin45, #Tokyo45) – Churchill, Hitler, et. al. posted only to their private social media accounts.

    Again, excellent job on the review, even if it only earned me 3 stars.

    Kind regards,

    Philip Gibson

    Like

    Philip Gibson said:
    May 9, 2014 at 7:56 pm

    A very thoughtful and well-written review. Good job!

    About the “security issues” you mentioned. I wrestled with that one while writing the book. After all, it wouldn’t do for the U.S. generals to be broadcasting their military preparation, and the diplomats their strategies, etc. as you indicated.. The way I see it is that the participants were on private networks (I referred to this in the book description), meaning that only JFK’s circle of selected associates could read his posts. Same with Castro, et.al. Then, years later, a hacker (me) was able to get into all those private accounts and compile them into a single social media feed…#Havana62.

    I used the same approach in my World War II books (#Berlin45, #Tokyo45) – Churchill, Hitler, et. al. posted to their private social media accounts.

    Again, excellent job on the review, even if it only earned me 3 stars.

    Kind regards,

    Philip Gibson

    Like

      charlieray45 responded:
      May 9, 2014 at 8:10 pm

      Actually, I give you 3 1/2 stars for a truly innovative book.

      Like

        Philip Gibson said:
        May 9, 2014 at 8:30 pm

        Thanks for the 3.5. When I was at school, when we rounded up or down to whole numbers, a .5 had to be rounded up to the next whole number. Since Amazon reviewers can only use whole numbers, any chance you could upgrade your rating to a 4.0? It would help offset the thoughtless 1 and 2 star reviews that preceded your well-written review.

        Here’s the link to the bookpage and reviews:
        http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00IEG7ULO/

        Tremendous website you have here by the way – I need to do some more exploring of it.

        Kind regards,

        Philip

        Like

        charlieray45 responded:
        May 10, 2014 at 1:38 am

        Done, and thanks for pointing a basic math fact that I’d forgotten.

        Like

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