The nuclear arms race between the Soviet Union and the USA of the late 1950s and early 1960s was among the most dangerous periods in world history. Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev's desire to place missiles on Cuba, and US President John F. Kennedy's willingness to call his bluff, brought East and West to the brink of nuclear war. For a few days in October 1962, the world really did teeter on the brink of disaster. To mark the 50th anniversary of the Cuban Missile Crisis, Biteback is publishing one of the most astonishing untold stories of the Cold War. Author Robert Holmes, who served as a diplomat in the British Embassy in Moscow during those fateful years, sets out to tell the story of Oleg Penkovsky, the MI6/CIA agent-in-place inside Soviet military intelligence, whose evidence convinced Kennedy that Khrushchev would back down and remove the missiles. Holmes was used to the smoke and mirrors world of Cold War espionage. But what he discovered surprised even him.
As he pieced together the information he had found, he realised that it strongly suggested that Penkovsky's patron, head of military intelligence Ivan Serov, was so angered by the West's 'victory' in Cuba and the recruitment of his protege that he set out for revenge, using rogue elements in the KGB to recruit a young American misfit, Lee Harvey Oswald, to commit the most infamous killing of the twentieth century - the assassination of President Kennedy.
ROBERT HOLMES was born in Belfast. He was a British diplomat for more than 30 years, serving in a number of foreign capitals including Moscow and Budapest during the depths of the Cold War.