In 1961, the Soviets secretly installed missiles with nuclear warheads in Cuba. When President John F. Kennedy learned about these weapons, he confronted Soviet premier Nikita Khrushchev. The world teetered on the brink of a nuclear war.

  • Publisher: Mitchell Lane
  • Series: Monumental Milestones
  • Year Published: 2005
  • Age Level: 8-13
  • Category:


These titles make first-rate alternatives to the numerous same-topic volumes available for this audience. Supported by frequent anecdotes, both books combine absorbing narratives with sharp cause-and-effect analyses. Seeing the Cuban missile crisis as a gambit rooted in Khrushchev’s belief that Kennedy “wasn’t very tough,” Whiting describes the tense diplomatic back-and-forth in detail (during which Kennedy does come off as indecisive), then closed with a poker-faced note about the fact that Castro has outlasted every other world leader of his day. In Pearl Harbor, the author not only covers the attack in detail, but also highlights a series of turning points—from Matthew Perry’s electrifying 19th-century visit to Tokyo to “five of the most decisive moments in the history of warfare” during the Battle of Midway, which also turned the tide of the war in the Pacific. Single-page sidelights illuminate such historical byways as the brief, seldom mentioned “takeover” of a tiny Hawaiian island by a downed Japanese pilot, further broadening the appeal of these well-founded assignment titles. (John Peters, New York Public Library, School Library Journal)