The Bay of Pigs

Title:                      The Bay of Pigs

Author:                  Haynes Johnson

Johnson, Haynes (1964) with Manuel Artime, Jose Perez, San Roman Eineido Oliva, and Enrique Ruiz-Williams. The Bay of Pigs: The Leaders’ Story of Brigade 2506. New York: Norton

LCCN:    64011143

F1788 .J6


Date Updated:  October 28, 2015

Reviewed by George C. Constantinides[1]

Johnson wished “to tell faithfully and with complete candor the history of the Bay of Pigs.” Along with other Cuban exiles, the four commanders of the brigade—Manuel Artime, Jose Perez, San Roman Eineido Oliva, and Enrique Ruiz-Williams—told their portion of the story to Johnson, who underlined their contribution by listing them as collaborating authors. Wyden, in his 1979 Bay of Pigs[2], listed Johnson’s study as one of his sources and called it “a masterful, encyclopedic reconstruction of the exile Cubans’ involvement,” but he noted that few nonexile sources were available at the time it was written. Perhaps as a consequence, Johnson devoted much less attention to the story of the operation from inside the U.S. government and especially CIA. Allen Dulles in The Craft of Intelligence[3] criticized the book as based largely on the accounts of the four Cubans and containing what he termed a new crop of myths. Conversely, Kirkpatrick in The Real CIA[4] called it an excellent piece of work. This difference among CIA officials reflects the split in that organization on the operation—Kirkpatrick as CIA’s inspector general ran the agency’s internal investigation of it. See Powers’ The Man Who Kept The Secrets[5] about the inspector general’s report and the reaction in CIA. Johnson put more faith in the reliability and objectivity of the Castro government’s published versions than experience with such regimes would seem to justify when he calls such sources the most significant for the book.

Reviewed by Paul W. Blackstock and Frank L. Schaf[6]

Johnson, worked from recorded Interviews of Cuban leaders of Brigade 2506, selected by the CIA to lead the landing in Cuba in 1961, to prepare this best-known of the accounts of the Bay of Pigs operation. He has used his own sources of information to provide insights into the White House, Pentagon, and CIA policy-making aspects of the incident.

[1] Constantinides, George C. (1983). Intelligence and Espionage: An Analytical Bibliography. Boulder, CO: Westview Press, pp. 259-260

[2] Wyden, Peter (1979). Bay of Pigs: The Untold Story. New York: Simon and Schuster

[3] Dulles, Allen W. (2006). The Craft of Intelligence: America’s Legendary Spy Master on the Fundamentals of Intelligence Gathering for a Free World. Guilford, CT: The Lyons Press

[4] Kirkpatrick, Lyman B. (1968). The Real CIA. New York, Macmillan

[5] Powers, Thomas (1979). The Man Who Kept the Secrets: Richard Helms and the CIA. New York: Alfred A. Knopf

[6] Blackstock, Paul W. (1978) and Frank L. Schaf, Jr. Intelligence, Espionage, Counterespionage, And Covert Operations: A Guide to Information Sources. Detroit: Gale Research Co., p. 33


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3 Responses to The Bay of Pigs

  1. Pingback: The Cuban Invasion | Intelligence Analysis and Reporting

  2. Pingback: Bay of Pigs The Untold Story | Intelligence Analysis and Reporting

  3. Pingback: Utilization of Intelligence chapter 5 | Intelligence Analysis and Reporting

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