America's secret war in the Caribbean during the Cold War is revealed as never before in this riveting story of the machinations and blunders of superpowers, and the daring of the mavericks who took them on.
During the presidencies of Eisenhower, Kennedy and Johnson, the Caribbean was in crisis, while the United States and the USSR acted out the world's rising tensions in its island nations. Meanwhile the leaders of these nations - the charismatic Fidel Castro, and his mysterious brother Raúl; the ideologue Che Guevara; the capricious psychopath Rafael Trujillo; and François 'Papa Doc' Duvalier, a buttoned-down doctor with interests in Vodou, embezzlement and torture - had ambitions of their own.
Alex von Tunzelmann's brilliant narrative follows these five rivals and accomplices from the beginning of the Cold War to its end. The superpowers thought they could use these Caribbean leaders as puppets, but what neither bargained on was that their puppets would come to life. The United States, in its all-consuming fight against communism, stumbled into one disaster after another. First, with the Bay of Pigs, and then with the Cuban Missile Crisis, it helped bring the world as close to catastrophic nuclear war as it has ever been. Red Heatis an authoritative and eye-opening account of a wildly dramatic and dangerous era of international politics that has unmistakable resonance today.
Alex von Tunzelmann lives in London. She read history at University College, Oxford, and afterwards worked as a researcher on books for authors including Jeremy Paxman, Felicity Lawrence, John Kay and Alison Wolf. Her first book, Indian Summer, was published by Simon & Schuster in 2007.
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