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  • Gambling with Armageddon

  • Nuclear Roulette from Hiroshima to the Cuban Missile Crisis
  • By: Martin J. Sherwin
  • Narrated by: Mark Bramhall
  • Length: 18 hrs and 50 mins
  • 5.0 out of 5 stars (5 ratings)

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Gambling with Armageddon

By: Martin J. Sherwin
Narrated by: Mark Bramhall
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Publisher's Summary

From the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of American Prometheus comes the first effort to set the Cuban Missile Crisis, with its potential for nuclear holocaust, in a wider historical narrative of the Cold War — how such a crisis arose, and why at the very last possible moment it didn't happen.

In this groundbreaking look at the Cuban Missile Crisis, Martin Sherwin not only gives us a riveting sometimes hour-by-hour explanation of the crisis itself, but also explores the origins, scope, and consequences of the evolving place of nuclear weapons in the post-World War II world. Mining new sources and materials, and going far beyond the scope of earlier works on this critical face-off between the United States and the Soviet Union — triggered when Khrushchev began installing missiles in Cuba at Castro's behest — Sherwin shows how this volatile event was an integral part of the wider Cold War and was a consequence of nuclear arms. 

Gambling with Armageddon looks in particular at the original debate in the Truman Administration about using the Atomic Bomb; the way in which President Eisenhower relied on the threat of massive retaliation to project US power in the early Cold War era; and how President Kennedy, though unprepared to deal with the Bay of Pigs debacle, came of age during the Cuban Missile Crisis. Here too is a clarifying picture of what was going on in Khrushchev's Soviet Union. 

Martin Sherwin has spent his career in the study of nuclear weapons and how they have shaped our world. Gambling with Armegeddon is an outstanding capstone to his work thus far.

©2020 Martin J. Sherwin (P)2020 Random House Audio
  • Unabridged Audiobook
  • Categories: History

Critic Reviews

“A thrilling read.... This book takes us as close as we will ever get to the people whose judgments or insights determined the fate of 200 million people in a nuclear war.” (Thomas Leonard, professor of history of journalism and librarian, University of California, Berkeley, emeritus)

“A great achievement that should generate intense discussion not only about what now appears to be the dim past, but also about the kinds of people we now entrust our survival to.... I found myself (almost) wondering if the world would in fact be destroyed, and was quite relieved when the answer was no.... A remarkably good book in every way.” (Sanford Levinson, W. St. John Garwood and W. St. John Garwood, Jr. Centennial chair in law, University of Texas at Austin) 

“Evocative, compelling, interpretive...a tour de force. Sherwin makes the crisis so vivid. He clarifies beautifully what was happening meeting by meeting, what were the options, what were the ambiguities.... Far and away the best book on the crisis.” (Melvyn Leffler, Edward Stettinius professor of history emeritus, University of Virginia) 

What listeners say about Gambling with Armageddon

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Fantastic

An easy to listen to in-depth account of the crisis
Performance does not get tiring and I found it easy to pick up the plot each day of listening

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Focused and Enthralling

I realise how little I knew about the Cuban Missile Crisis and the events leading up to it. This Audiobook not only documents this fascinating event, it also is an eye opener as to the potential perils of world power. The narration was very good and and kept my mind fully engaged throughout. We are fortunate to be able to look back at this time and into the depths of what might have been.

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