The Bay of Pigs


In The Bay of Pigs, Howard Jones provides a concise, incisive, and dramatic account of the disastrous attempt to overthrow Castro in April 1961. Drawing on recently declassified CIA documents, Jones deftly examines the train of missteps and self-deceptions that led to the invasion of U.S.-trained exiles at the Bay of Pigs.Ignoring warnings from the ambassador to Cuba, the Eisenhower administration put in motion an operation that proved nearly unstoppable even after the inauguration of John F. Kennedy. The CIA and Pentagon, meanwhile, both voiced confidence in the outcome of the invasion, especially after coordinating previous successful coups in Guatemala and Iran. And so the Kennedy administration launched the exile force toward its doom in Cochinos Bay on April 17, 1961. Jones gives a riveting account of the battle--and the confusion in the White House--before moving on to explore its implications. The Bay of Pigs, he writes, set the course of Kennedy's foreign policy. It was a humiliation for the administration that fueled fears of Communist domination and pushed Kennedy toward a hardline "cold warrior" stance. But at the same time, the failed attack left him deeply skeptical of CIA and military advisers and influenced his later actions during the Cuban missile crisis.
  • Oxford University Press; August 2008
  • ISBN 9780199721306
  • Read online, or download in secure PDF or secure EPUB format
  • Title: The Bay of Pigs
  • Author: Howard Jones
  • Imprint: Oxford University Press

In The Press

"A readable and concise study of the events leading to the military and political disaster in April 1961...This book should be must reading for our two presidential candidates and their staffs."--St. Petersburg Times
"Jones has crafted an exceedingly impressive history of this tragic event that should stand as the definitive treatment for years to come. Essential for all history collections."--Library Journal (starred review)
"Jones, University Research Professor of History at UA and the author of Mutiny on the Amistad, tells this story not in a single page but in nearly hypnotic detail. He has researched the events with great care and thoroughness, using now-declassified records from the CIA, Senate committee hearings, and a host of other sources."--Tuscaloosa News
"A taut account of a dismal passage of the Cold War....With remarkable efficiency, Jones... examines all aspects of the debacle....May become the preferred single-source reference to an episode whose foreign policy and military implications continue to reverberate."--Kirkus Reviews
"Howard Jones's The Bay of Pigs broke new ground both with documentation and interpretation. In doing so, he also painted a broader Cold War brush in showed the foreign relations legacy of both the Bay of Pigs and the Cuban Missile Crisis."--Cold War Times Magazine
"A concise and highly informative account of the planning and execution of this foreign policy debacle....An excellent revisiting of a tragic episode of the cold war."--Booklist
"Extensively researched and cogently reasoned, Jones's update of this Cold War turning point for the Pivotal Moments in American History series is a cautionary account of a disastrous foray into regime change."--Publishers Weekly
"The Bay of Pigs, based on deep research, is a hard-hitting history of the Cold War mentality that led American leaders not only to back a badly flawed invasion but also to plot all manner of attempts to assassinate Fidel Castro and others in his circle."--James T. Patterson, author of Restless Giant: The United States from Watergate to Bush v. Gore
"An unsparing portrait of an epic disaster, a tale of overreach, incompetence, hubris and self-delusion, of every level of American government at its worst. The Bay of Pigs had far-reaching consequences, and from Howard Jones' account it becomes clear why."--James Galbraith, The University of Texas at Austin
"This is the definitive history of John F. Kennedy's greatest policy calamity. More thoroughly researched than any previous work on the subject, it is also succinct, nuanced, and exquisitely balanced in its treatment of the president and the CIA."--Brian Latell, author of After Fidel: Raul Castro and the Future of Cuba's Revolution, and Senior Research Associate, Cuba Studies, University of Miami
"Howard Jones has written a page-turner, beginning the moment he describes Fidel Castro's planes roaring out of Havana and heading toward the helpless Cuban exile brigade on Red Beach. He also shows conclusively how the invasion-poorly planned, driven by self-deception and inertia-solidified Castro's rule, destroyed U.S.-Cuban relations, and reinforced the American government's paranoia that any criticism of its foreign policy constituted a threat to nation security."--Stephen Schwab, retired CIA official currently teaching at the University of Alabama

About The Author

Howard Jones is the author of Mutiny on the Amistad and Death of a Generation. He is University Research Professor of History at the University of Alabama.