Red Heat

Red Heat

Conspiracy, Murder, and the Cold War in the Caribbean

Book - 2011
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The Caribbean crises of the Cold War are presented in this story of clashing ideologies, the rise of the politics of fear, the machinations of superpowers, and the brazen daring of the mavericks who took them on. During the period of Eisenhower, Kennedy, and Johnson, the United States and the Soviet Union acted out the world's tensions on three important island nations, Cuba, Haiti and the Dominican Republic. 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. The superpowers thought they could use Cuba, Haiti, and the Dominican Republic as puppets, but what neither bargained on was that their puppets would come to life. Historian Alex von Tunzelmann's narrative follows these five rivals and accomplices from the beginning of the Cold War to its end.--From publisher description.
Publisher: New York : Henry Holt, 2011
Edition: First edition
ISBN: 9780805090673
Branch Call Number: 972.905 Vo
Description: xii, 449 pages, 16 unnumbered pages of plates : illustrations ; 25 cm


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Nov 05, 2011

This book is apparently the outgrowth of a university master’s thesis, and it shows. The author is good at her research and the book is full of detail she has uncovered, but it is mostly presented in chronological sequence for short periods at a time without any analysis, subjects are frequently broken off and returned to much later, and the author does almost no interpretation and synthesis. She is often up so close to the individual events that she forgets what she knows versus what her readers know, making the book often hard to follow. The broad picture emerges only to the extent that the reader can paint it on his/her own, because the author never illuminates underlying forces, motivations and patterns and presents no lessons for the future nor any ideas on how to solve the problems she is uncovering but not identifying. A very disappointing book about an important subject that goes well beyond the Caribbean. I was often confused by the text even though I already knew the subject a bit and was familiar with many of the players. And the book suddenly stops at a point in history that makes no real sense. It’s like the research money or the printer paper suddenly ran out.


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