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A lingering question about the Bay of Pigs operation has always been how anyone could ever have thought it would work. Somehow presidents Eisenhower and Kennedy, with the input of their military and intelligence advisers, approved an invasion plan that projected the victory of a 1,400-man exile force over the 25,000-man Cuban army. Moreover, they did so while implausibly insisting that the action must not be traced back to the US. Until recently, the cloak of secrecy has restricted efforts to explain this planning and decision-making process to idle speculation; with the publication of this volume, somewhat informed speculation is now possible. Through the Freedom of Information Act, the National Security Archive (a public-interest group), with which Kornbluh is affiliated, has obtained the CIA's internal and very critical report on the Bay of Pigs and a lengthy response from the CIA officer in charge of the operation.
Edited by Kornbluh (Nicarauga, 1987), the volume includes an analytical introduction, an interview with two CIA men involved in the planning of the operation and a detailed timeline of events. This mass of information provides insight into shifting objectives, ambiguity over responsibility and accountability, and the momentum that precluded halting or even seriously reconsidering the operation. Most striking, however, is the vigor with which those involved seek to hide behind presidential cancellation of an air strike in explaining the failure. The impulse to deflect blame clearly overrides any self-analysis that could lead to institutional learning from the experience despite the absurdity of claiming that one decision was the turning point in an operation riddled with problems. What remains unexplained is the failure of American political leadership, a puzzle that may be beyond the potential of historical documents to solve.
An eye-opening account, regardless of one's political convictions.
|Introduction: History Held Hostage: The Bay of Pigs Report in Context||1|
|Key Actors and Acronyms||21|
|Pt. I||The Inspector General's Survey of the Cuban Operation, October 1961||23|
|Pt. II||An Analysis of the Cuban Operation by the Deputy Director (Plans) Central Intelligence Agency, 18 January 1962||133|
|Pt. III||Associated Documents||235|
|Pt. IV||The Bay of Pigs Revisited: An Interview with Jacob Esterline and Col. Jack Hawkins||258|
|Pt. V||The Bay of Pigs Invasion: A Comprehensive Chronology of Events||267|
|About the National Security Archive||336|
Posted September 23, 2010
The novel Bay of Pigs declassified is a book discussing in a factual manor the detailed facts of the Bay of Pigs invasion in 1961. Some major themes and messages are just facts like, the invasion happened under the Kennedy administration. It was mainly under the control of the CIA. The American government felt that the global community was learning that Cuba was under communist control, the communist ruler was Fidel Castro, so the American government had to over throw him. When J.F.K. took office in January 1961 he was basically just handed the plan. One of the first things he got was some numbers, "by 28 January 1961 the strike force strength was 644 on 3 February it was 685 by 10 March it had risen to 826 by 22 March to 973. On 6 April 1961 brigade strength was reported at 1390" (Kornbluh 30). Basically they're giving J.F.K. numbers and saying this is what we're going to do, make it look good to the American public.
Unfortunately I did not have many likes for this book or even enjoyment in reading it. It was very factional; it was pretty much here is a whole list of facts, which could be interesting to a person who is really into the Bay of Pigs invasion. Also there were some interesting facts in the book. This like is definitely a dislike as well, it was extremely dull, the person reading this book has to be extremely passionate about the subject, and personally I'm not and I am kind of disappointed that I chose to read this book instead of something else.
If there is a person out there who loves American history they should absolutely read this book. There is so much attention to detail that anyone into history could really fall into this book, for the right person this book has a lot of potential. On the other hand if a person isn't too into this book it could be completely dull. For me it was alright, I do enjoy history but not in such a bland matter.
If a person wants to learn about the Bay of Pigs invasion I would look into a person story of someone who was actually part of the attack force. The reader may not get as much detail but it could be a little more interesting. Out of 5 stars I would give this book a 1 on a personal level. However for the style I give it 4 out of 5 stars. It is pieced together in a very factual chronological order.