My recent roundup of books on Cuba made no claims for completeness - nonetheless I think it a glaring omission not having included University of Alabama history mentor Howard Jones’s vital monograph, The Bay of Pigs. Included in a series from Oxford University Press called “Pivotal Moments in American History,” Jones reaffirms the position that this great blunder is a link in a causal chain leading to the Vietnam fiasco — not to mention the massive shadow it casts on the C.I.A. Series editor David Hackett Fischer quotes Marine Colonel Jack Hawkins, who worked on the Bay of Pigs invasion and other secret operations, saying that 30 years later, civilian leaders “continue to harbor unrealistically overblown ideas about what can be accomplished by covert, deniable means.” And we can see where that led us.
—Robert Birnbaum, Jul. 29, 2009