Above and Beyond: John F. Kennedy and America's Most Dangerous Cold War Spy Mission

ABOVE AND BEYOND                            CASEY SHERMAN

During an infamous thirteen-day stretch of October 1962, America faced the prospect of imminent nuclear war with the Soviet Union. Two things saved humanity: the strategic wisdom of John F. Kennedy, and the U-2 aerial spy program.

Above and Beyond tells the story of the Cuban Missile Crisis through the eyes of three characters: Kennedy, and two U-2 pilots, Rudy Anderson and Charles Maultsby, who found themselves in the crosshairs of history, on the worst and most intense day of the crisis.

Anderson, a decorated combat pilot, embarked on a top-secret mission from McCoy Air Force Base, Florida, to fly his U-2 spy plane over Cuba to photograph evidence that five Soviet R-2 missile sites are up and running.

At the same time, thousands of miles away in Alaska, Maultsby climbed into his own U-2 spy plane and took off on what was believed to be a routine mission to the North Pole to gather radioactive air samples from a recent Russian nuclear test. But just after 12 PM, Maultsby suddenly became disoriented and steered his plane into Soviet airspace.

In the White House, Kennedy, strained from back pain, sleeplessness, and days impossible tension, was briefed about Maultsby and his missing U-2. If detected by the Soviets, its presence in Soviet air space could be considered an act of war. But as the president and his advisers wrestled with this information, more bad news came: another U-2 had gone missing--this time over Cuba.


The author takes you through the turmoil that JFK was dealing with during the thirteen days we now call the Cuban missile crisis. You are shown by documents and recordings just how stressful everything was for the President. He was not only dealing with Cuba but he also had other worries going on as well. This was after the Bay of Pigs which did not go as planned. He was having to deal with Vietnam at times, and just when he thought he had time for himself something else would come up.
Here you get a look into the U-2 spy program that for myself I had only heard about and by the time I was twelve able to see one of the old spy planes up close. Just to read the story of these two pilots, Chuck Maultsby who would get disorientated and flies into Russian air space which really causes a problem for Kennedy which just added to the many that he would come to have.
You then have Rudy Anderson a decorated fighter pilot who joined the program and flew many missions over Cuba but it would be his last one that he would be remembered for, or now not so much. He was shot down and the U-2 parts of it were put on display.
What you really get to see is how Kennedy not only had to negotiate with Khrushchev but his own Generals and staff, you see just how close we really came to possibly be in another war. This is a fantastic book and one everyone should read. I received this book from Netgalley.com I gave it 5 stars Follow us at www.1rad-readerreviews.com

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