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Red Heat: Conspiracy, Murder, and the Cold…
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Red Heat: Conspiracy, Murder, and the Cold War in the Caribbean

by Alex Von Tunzelmann

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This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
An outstanding overview of Cold War politics in the Caribbean theater. The United States, in its anticommunist zeal, found itself propping up such psychopathic, bloodthirsty despots as Duvalier in Haiti and Trujillo in the Dominican Republic. "Red Heat" is the story of how American foreign policy helped destroy any chance democracy to emerge in Haiti and the Dominican Republic as well as elsewhere in the Caribbean and Latin American area. Extensive footnotes. ( )
  cao9415 | Nov 23, 2011 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
Red Hot Reading on the Cold War – “Red Heat: Conspiracy, Murder, and the Cold War in the Caribbean” by Alex von Tunzelmann

If you did not grow up during the height of the Cold War of the 1950s-1960s, rehearsing for nuclear Armageddon, or read every John Le Carre spy novel in First Editions, this tale of Cold War rivalry, conspiracy, confusion, and failure in the Caribbean (and Central and South America) may seem hard to believe. However, author Alex von Tunzelmann has delivered on the title’s promise of conspiracy and murder in the Caribbean. The result is an interesting work for the general reader and one that scholars will need to consider in future works on the subject.

For years, authors have recounted these stories in accordance with the “print the legend” prescript of newspaper editor Maxwell Scott from “The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance”. “Red Heat” presents the story of how again and again, the Cold War rivalry between the US and the USSR led both to make decisions that would undercut democracy and its critical institutions in Cuba, the Dominican Republic, Haiti, and elsewhere in Central and South America. While Moscow and particularly Washington bear great responsibility for this, von Tunzelmann includes the contributions to this tale of the Duvaliers, the Trujillos, the Castros and other residents of these Caribbean nations.

The author presents these intertwining stories in a roughly chronological narrative, with some diversions as she provides some backstory with details that enhance the reader’s understanding of events and personalities. Her prose is both energetic and reflective of a passion that is almost but not quite overwhelming at times. The text is supported by some 40 pages of endnotes providing additional details as well as identifying her sources. There is also an almost eight page long “selected bibliography” of source material. ( )
  RobertMosher | Aug 16, 2011 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
Red Heat should be required reading for anyone with any interest in the Americas. It is refreshing to get a different perspective on the Cold War as it was played out in the Caribbean. Alex Tunzelmann does a tremendous job in building up the big picture of Cuba, Haiti and the Dominican Republic in the 50’s and 60’s and US foreign policy efforts to control the region. ( )
  louisste | May 8, 2011 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
With the exception of two events, the Bay of Pigs and the Cuban Missile Crisis, the Caribbean is not prominent on the Cold War stage. Red Heat could change that. It is a very readable account of this region during the 1950s and 1960s, highlighting missed opportunities that could have eased tension years earlier. Future Presidents should read and learn from Kennedy’s mistakes and not take information at face value, no matter the source. ( )
  LamSon | Apr 28, 2011 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
A must read for anyone who wants to understand the sure global reach of the Cold War. Expressed through the stories of five leaders of Cuba, the DR, and Haiti. Readers are sure to see a new historical perspective from an often-overlooked part of the world. ( )
  egonzaba | Apr 23, 2011 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0805090673, Hardcover)

The Caribbean crises of the Cold War are revealed as never before in this riveting story of clashing ideologies, the rise of the politics of fear, the machinations of superpowers, and the brazen daring of the mavericks who took them on

During the presidencies of Eisenhower, Kennedy, and Johnson, the Caribbean was in crisis. The men responsible included, from Cuba, the charismatic Fidel Castro, and his mysterious brother Raúl; from Argentina, the ideologue Che Guevara; from the Dominican Republic, the capricious psychopath Rafael Trujillo; and from Haiti, François "Papa Doc" Duvalier, a buttoned-down doctor with interests in Vodou, embezzlement and torture.

Alex von Tunzelmann's brilliant narrative follows these five rivals and accomplices from the beginning of the Cold War to its end, each with a separate vision for his tropical paradise, and each in search of power and adventure as the United States and the USSR acted out the world's tensions in their island nations. The superpowers thought they could use Cuba, Haiti, and the Dominican Republic as puppets, but what neither bargained on was that their puppets would come to life. Red Heat is an intimate account of the strong-willed men who, armed with little but words and ruthlessness, took on the most powerful nations on earth.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:54:38 -0400)

(see all 2 descriptions)

The Caribbean crises of the Cold War are presented in this story of clashing ideologies, the rise of the politics of fear, the machinations of superpowers, and the brazen daring of the mavericks who took them on. During the period of Eisenhower, Kennedy, and Johnson, the United States and the Soviet Union acted out the world's tensions on three important island nations, Cuba, Haiti and the Dominican Republic. Meanwhile, the leaders of these nations--the charismatic Fidel Castro and his mysterious brother Raul; the ideologue Che Guevara; the capricious psychopath Rafael Trujillo; and Fran?cois "Papa Doc" Duvalier, a buttoned-down doctor with interests in Vodou, embezzlement and torture--had ambitions of their own. The superpowers thought they could use Cuba, Haiti, and the Dominican Republic as puppets, but what neither bargained on was that their puppets would come to life. Historian Alex von Tunzelmann's narrative follows these five rivals and accomplices from the beginning of the Cold War to its end.--From publisher description.… (more)

» see all 3 descriptions

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