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Thirteen Days

A Memoir of the Cuban Missile Crisis
Written by: Robert F. Kennedy
Narrated by: Kurt Elftmann
Length: 4 hrs and 24 mins
4 out of 5 stars (4 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

In October 1962, when the United States confronted the Soviet Union over its installation of missiles in Cuba, few people shared the behind-the-scenes story as it is told here by the late Senator Robert F. Kennedy. In this unique account, he describes the hour-by-hour negotiations, with particular attention to the actions and views of his brother, President John F. Kennedy.

In a foreword to this edition, the distinguished historian and Kennedy adviser Arthur M. Schlesinger, Jr., discusses the book's enduring importance and the significance of new information about the crisis that has come to light from the former Soviet Union.

©1971, 1969 W. W. Norton & Company, Inc., Copyright 1968 by McCall Corporation (P)2013 Audible, Inc.

What the critics say

"A minor classic in its laconic, spare, compelling evocation by a participant of the shifting moods and maneuvers of the most dangerous moment in human history." (Arthur M. Schlesinger, Jr.)

What listeners say about Thirteen Days

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  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Chad
  • 2013-07-04

Poor narration

What didn’t you like about Kurt Elftmann’s performance?

Monotone and devoid of emotion. About as exciting if he had been reading stock prices. Hard to stay focused on the story because narration was so boring.

Any additional comments?

I loved the movie but will have to read the printed book to fairly judge this one.

2 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • David
  • 2015-08-06

An good inside look

I saw the film adaptation long before I read the book. The book is interesting but I'm suspicious to a degree since "Bobbie" is a central character, and the main character is his own brother. However, given whatever flaws it may have based on those relationships, it is still an important story of one of the most frightening events of the 20th Century. RFK's original work is quite brief, but the supplementary notes are as interesting and as important as the main work. It's is interesting to note the impact of a single book, Barbara Tuchman's The Guns of August had on the President, and the results that had for the outcome of the crisis. The whole approach used by the President is useful in ways far beyond nuclear diplomacy.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Jonathan David
  • 2020-05-07

Horrible Narration Makes It Hard to Listen To

Generally, I try to separate the substance of a book from the narration of the audiobook when I review a book on here. With this book it becomes almost impossible to do so.

I find the subject matter extremely interesting. I find the brilliance and contradictions of Jack & Bobby Kennedy. While I’ve listened to many books on the Kennedy brothers, I have wanted to listen to Bobby’s book on the Cuban Missile Crisis for a long time. Yet, no matter how hard I tried I found it impossible to listen to because of the narrator.

Kurt Elftmann, the narrator of this book drones on in a nasal monotone. There is almost no inflection in his reading of the book, despite the subject matter dealing with the thirteen intense days surrounding the Cuban Missile Crisis. While it’s true it’s not a mystery novel or something that requires overly dramatic narration or the ability to do different voices, the subject matter deserves better treatment than it is given. The book is read with all the intensity of someone reading off their grocery list. With over 800 titles in my audible library, this is the first where I felt compelled to post a review about the terrible narration and how it makes the book near impossible to listen to.

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  • Pete Webb
  • 2020-02-18

Needs a new narrator update

Excellent memoir wrecked by terrible narration. Alexa has more vocal inflection and tone. Please update

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  • Casey
  • 2019-12-17

Excellent

RFK’s personal account is fast-paced and sobering. His style is very enjoyable and doesn’t bog down. I do wish his account was longer, it was so interesting.
The afterword was too long-winded, taking a full two hours of the listening time.

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  • mr kieran j murphy
  • 2019-11-28

an insight into a point in history

this is an insight intoa point of history from someone who was in the room where it happened. history as it happened

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  • Doug
  • 2019-02-24

IF YOU LOVE HISTORY"""

Robert Kennedy Lived it. I was a young republican then, but I think JFK handled this the best way possible.
In 1968, I planned to vote for RFK , Anybody to replace LBJ. Anyway, If you like history I believe you will enjoy
this book.

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  • Larry A. Jasek
  • 2018-10-09

Historical Terror

Historical Terror at a time when there was so much unknown. This gives a good look at what else was going on from a Soviet perspective. I didn't know we had missiles right outside their back door. No wonder they wanted to place them outside our back door. Once again, the United States won the gamble.

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  • Lindsay
  • 2018-10-05

Great story, terrible narrator

Fascinating read that sheds insight into an important event in our history. To be honest, the book is a bit dry, but the material is still interesting. Also makes me wonder how much of this is a biased summary, given that JFK's brother wrote the book. All that aside, worthwhile read. Sort of makes you look at global politics a little differently.

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  • Paul Izzi
  • 2017-08-06

Exceptional look at near world annihilation

It brought back vivid memories of living in a home of 7 children and parents who were essentially dealing with the fear of total world destruction.