The Brilliant Disaster

As research for my current book I breezed through “The Brilliant Disaster” by Jim Rasenberger this weekend.  It’s a non-fiction telling of the Bay of Pigs, the US backed invasion of Cuba in 1961 that ended in abject disaster.  Even as a History major I generally find history books hard to sit through, but this book was superbly written.  It read like a Tom Clancy military thriller, and the Bay of Pigs is already a fascinating story as is.  It’s one of the most momentous stories of the Cold War, and the actual details of it are a tragic comedy of errors.  I highly recommend it!

Just to give you a taste of the absurdity… on the night of the invasion, the bigger boats grounded themselves on coral reefs they didn’t know about, the smaller crafts’ engines either died (because they didn’t mix the gas right) or fell right off the boat, and the abandoned beach they were supposed to land on was brightly lit and hosting a party at the time with military jeeps patrolling.

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