Cuban Missile Crisis
The Essential Reference Guide
by Priscilla Roberts, Editor
April 2012, 278pp, 6 1/8x9 1/4
1 volume, ABC-CLIO

Hardcover: 978-1-61069-065-2
$64, £48, 54€, A92
eBook Available: 978-1-61069-066-9
Please contact your preferred eBook vendor for pricing.

On October 14, 1962, a U.S. reconnaissance flight provided the final, definitive proof that the Soviet Union was attempting to build missile bases in Cuba. The ensuing crisis was one of the defining moments of the Cold War, and likely the closest the world has ever come to all-out nuclear annihilation.

Drawing on revealing new research, this richly informative volume is the definitive concise introduction to the crisis that took the world to the brink of nuclear war.

Cuban Missile Crisis: The Essential Reference Guide captures the historical context, the minute-by-minute drama, and the profound repercussions of the “Missiles of October” confrontation that brought the very real threat of nuclear attack to the United States’ doorstep. Coinciding with the 50th anniversary of the crisis, it takes full advantage of recently opened Soviet archives as well as interviews with key Russian, Cuban, and U.S. officials to explore the event as it played out in Moscow, Havana, Washington, and other locations around the world.

Cuban Missile Crisis contains an introductory essay by the author and alphabetically organized reference entries contributed by leading Cold War researchers. The book also includes an exceptionally comprehensive bibliography. Together, these resources give readers everything they need to understand the escalating tensions that led to the crisis as well as the intense diplomacy that resolved it, including new information about the back-channel negotiations between Robert Kennedy and Soviet ambassador Anatoly Dobrynin.


  • 73 alphabetically organized entries that offer valuable insights into the leaders, events, and ideas that shaped the Cuban Missile Crisis
  • More than a dozen expert contributors representing all countries involved in the crisis
  • Seven primary source documents, including President Kennedy's speech to the American public and letters exchanged between Premier Kruschev and Fidel Castro
  • Biographies of major figures, including the Kennedys, Nikita Khrushchev, Fidel Castro, Adlai Stevenson, and Valerian Zorin
  • A thorough chronology outlining all key events before, during, and after the crisis
  • A comprehensive bibliography on the crisis, including a significant number of recent publications that have brought new understanding of the conflict to light
Priscilla Roberts, PhD, is associate professor of history and honorary director of the Centre of American Studies at the University of Hong Kong. She read history at King's College, Cambridge, where she also earned her doctorate in history. She has published numerous books and articles, among them Window on the Forbidden City: The Beijing Diaries of David Bruce, 1973–1974; Behind the Bamboo Curtain: China, Vietnam, and the World beyond Asia; and Lord Lothian and Anglo-American Relations, 1900–1940.


"[A] well-written dictionary of key players and events surrounding the Cuban Missile Crisis of October 1962. . . . This is a concise, easy-to-read reference for high-school and public libraries and beginning undergraduates. Summing Up: Recommended."—Choice, November 1, 2012

"The work gives great insight into the negotiations between the two countries and their leaders and would be an excellent choice for school, academic, and public libraries."—Booklist, August 1, 2012
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