The Cuban Invasion

Title:                      The Cuban Invasion

Author:                  Karl E. Meyer

Meyer, Karl E. (1962) and Tad Szulc. The Cuban Invasion: The Chronicle of a Disaster. New York: Praeger

LCCN:    62015262

F1788 .M45


Date Updated:  November 6, 2015

Reviewed by George C. Constantinides[1]

The authors were familiar with Cuban and Latin American affairs when they tackled the story of the 1961 Bay of Pigs operation designed to overthrow Castro. Though written shortly after the event, this was well done and stands up in its essentials almost two decades later. Meyer and Szulc were aware that all the facts were not known at the time they wrote. All the same, they tried to recreate the mood, the compulsions, and the factors that went into the operation, relying to some extent on “confidential interviews” with Americans and Cubans. The thesis presented was that it was the intelligence bureaucracy and the bureaucracy in general that were the institutional villains, rather than individuals. Wyden in the 1979 Bay of Pigs[2] called this book not only the first on the subject but fascinating, detailed, and shrewd in its interpretation of Cuban politics. His other judgment—that it was “astonishingly short on facts” for a volume by trained reporters—is true, although “astonishingly” seems strong in view of its publication date. Wyden’s book must be read for a more comprehensive treatment as well as for an explanation of Szulc’s knowledge, as a New York Times reporter, of the operation before it took place. See also Johnson’s The Bay of Pigs[3]. Writing in 1964, Johnson thought the Meyer and Szulc treatment had excellent political analysis and understanding of the Cuban problem and was unusually good in its overall grasp but exaggerated Manuel Rey’s importance and thus suffered from heavy reliance on Rey’s viewpoint.

Reviewed by Paul W. Blackstock and Frank L. Schaf[4]

A competent journalistic account of the Bay af Pigs fiasco in April 1961. Tad Szulc covered the story for the New York Times.

[1] Constantinides, George C. (1983). Intelligence and Espionage: An Analytical Bibliography. Boulder, CO: Westview Press, pp. 327-328

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

[3] 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

[4] 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.


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One Response to The Cuban Invasion

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