Review of The Shadow of War: A Novel of the Cuban Missile Crisis, by Jeff Shaara

I read Michael Shaara’s Killer Angels in college, and discovered how historical fiction could make history more understandable, even exciting to read. Jeff Shaara has followed in his father’s footsteps by authoring several novels in the historical fiction genre. Putting characters in historical WWII battles, the Korean War, the Civil War, and the Revolutionary War opens the imagination to what these conflicts could have been like.
The Shadow of War doesn’t quite make the grade as a historical fiction novel. Perhaps that’s because the Cuban Missile Crisis is from recent history, in my lifetime, and shouldn’t have to be imagined. Why not go with the straight facts? Surely, records of the tense deliberations between Kennedy and his staffers exist.
Perhaps it’s these records Jeff Shaara relied upon to write this book. But instead of painting a broad picture to flesh out scenes and dialogue, I’m left wondering, did it really happen like that?
Thanks to Net Galley and St. Martin’s Press for the digital copy of The Shadow of War: A Novel of the Cuban Missile Crisis, in exchange for my unbiased review.

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