The Brilliant Disaster on NPR

All Things Considered: “50 Years Later:
Learning From The Bay Of Pigs”

Members of Fidel Castro's militia gather in Cuba's Escambry Mountains during the ill-fated 1961 Bay of Pigs invasion. Three Lions/Getty Images

Listen to the interview / read the transcript on NPR’s All Things Considered.

“Fifty years ago Sunday, a brigade of around 1,500 CIA-trained soldiers stormed the beach in Cuba’s Bay of Pigs. It was the opening phase of a secret mission to overthrow Fidel Castro and, President John F. Kennedy hoped, halt the spread of communism throughout the world.

Things did not go as planned.

“I think the thing that you have to keep in mind when you ask yourself, ‘How did this ever happen?’ is the extraordinary fear of communism in the late 50s and early 60s,” writer Jim Rasenberger tells NPR’s Noah Adams.”

In his new book, The Brilliant Disaster, Rasenberger suggests the debacle marked the start of the Vietnam era — before which, “it would have been a fairly skeptical or cynical American who doubted he lived in a country run by competent men, engaged in worthwhile enterprises.” Read more…

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