Abyss: The Cuban Missile Crisis 1962 | Paperback | By Max Hastings

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Product Information
  • Abyss: The Cuban Missile Crisis 1962
  • Pages: 400
  • Format: Paperback
  • Author: Max Hastings
  • Publisher: William Collins
  • Publication date: 29 September 2022
  • Category: Military, History, International Relations
  • Size: 23.4 x 15.3 x 4.4cm
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Abyss: The Cuban Missing Crisis 1962 by Max Hastings


Max Hastings’s graphic new history tells the story from the viewpoints of national leaders, Russian officers, Cuban peasants, American pilots and British disarmers. Max Hastings deploys his accustomed blend of eye-witness interviews, archive documents and diaries, White House tape recordings, top-down analysis, first to paint word-portraits of the Cold War experiences of Fidel Castro’s Cuba, Nikita Khrushchev’s Russia and Kennedy’s America; then to describe the nail-biting Thirteen Days in which Armageddon beckoned.

Hastings began researching this book believing that he was exploring a past event from twentieth century history. He is as shocked as are millions of us around the world, to discover that the rape of Ukraine gives this narrative a hitherto unimaginable twenty-first century immediacy. We may be witnessing the onset of a new Cold War between nuclear-armed superpowers.

To contend with today’s threat, which Hastings fears will prove enduring, it is critical to understand how, sixty years ago, the world survived its last glimpse into the abyss. Only by fearing the worst, he argues, can our leaders hope to secure the survival of the planet.


‘Brilliantly told… compelling… Hastings has cleverly woven the story together from all sides describing them in dramatic, almost hour by hour detail… this is a scary book. Hastings sees little evidence that today’s leaders understand each other any better than they did in 1962’ Sunday Times

‘Grabs from the get-go… the moments in which the world teetered on the brink of total annihilation… come alive as they would if this were the very best fiction… Hastings is a writer in the permanent prime of his time… Abyss is up there with the best… packed full of mordant humour, perfectly pitched amid the lunacy of mankind facing imminent destruction’ Mail on Sunday

‘The heart-stopping story of the missile crisis …told …with the narrative verve and panache that is Hastings’s hallmark…a brilliant, beautifully constructed and thrilling re-assessment of the most perilous moment in history’ Saul David, Daily Telegraph

‘Enter Hastings, a rock of probity and good sense. He’s combined his investigative skills with his flair for storytelling to produce the most gripping narrative of the crisis I’ve yet encountered. His story unfolds, as it should, as a frightening but hopelessly addictive narrative of 13 nerve-wracking days when the world teetered above an abyss’ Gerald DeGroot, Times

‘A gripping retelling of those weeks of brinkmanship, reckless gambles, gung-ho generals and a thuggish USSR leader bullying a ‘weak president’’ Sun

About the Author

Max Hastings is the author of thirty books, most about conflict, and between 1986 and 2002 served as editor-in-chief of the Daily Telegraph, then editor of the Evening Standard. He has won many prizes both for journalism and his books, of which the most recent are All Hell Let Loose, Catastrophe and The Secret War, bestsellers translated around the world. He is a fellow of the Royal Society of Literature, an Honorary Fellow of King’s College, London and was knighted in 2002. He has two grown-up children, Charlotte and Harry, and lives with his wife Penny in West Berkshire, where they garden enthusiastically.


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