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“Thirteen Days”: Comparing and Contrasting the Book and the Movie

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“Thirteen Days”, written by Robert F. Kennedy, is an account of the Cuban Missile Crisis based on the view of Robert F. Kennedy. This book contains Kennedy’s thoughts about the Cuban Missile Crisis and the actions that he and the rest of the United States cabinet took to prevent a nuclear disaster and World War III. There is also a movie based on the book starring Kevin Costner. Most movies that are based on books are often exceeding inaccurate, due to Hollywood directors trying to “spice up” the movie. However, Thirteen Days is one of the few movies that are not wildly inaccurate. The movie contains several similarities with the book. However, the most important similarities are the series of events that led to the whole ordeal, the influence of Adlai Stevenson, and the compromise that the United States and the U.S.S.R made and how they reached this compromise.

The first major similarity is the series of events that led up to the ordeal. In the book, it starts off with a meeting of the President and most of the cabinet. It is almost the same in the movie. However, the movie starts off with the U-2 plane actually taking the pictures, which is not in the book. After the U-2 flight, the movie then joined the book, where the President and the cabinet met together for the briefing. After the meeting, everyone realized that the Soviet Union was lying about the whole situation. They were in fact transporting nuclear missiles to Cuba when they promised that they were not. Another similarity that ties into the events that led to the ordeal was the meeting between John F. Kennedy and Andrei Gromyko. They talked about the same subject, the Soviets helping the Cubans. Then, President Kennedy read out a statement that pointed out several serious consequences that would arise if the Soviet Union placed missiles in Cuba. Then, Gromyko lied right to his face, and assured him that the Soviet Union would never give missiles to Cuba.

The second major similarity is the influence of Adlai Stevenson. Stevenson was the first person to bring up the idea of trading their missiles in Turkey for the Russian missiles in Cuba. At first, people at Ex Comm thought he was crazy, but later, they used his idea, and traded their missiles in Turkey for the Cuban missiles. He also was the one at a United Nations Security Council meeting that confronted Ambassador V. A. Zorin of the Soviet Union. Stevenson showed the evidence of the missile sites being built in Cuba and showed that the U.S.S.R was lying about the missiles the entire time. This put immense pressure on top of both the United States and the Soviet Union to try and resolve this conflict, or to go to war. This helped to resolve the crisis and lead to eventual peace for both countries.

The third example is the compromise and how they reached this compromise. Robert Kennedy had a meeting with Ambassador Dobrynin and told him about the deal that the United States was willing to make in order to remove the missiles from Cuba. The United States was willing to give up the missiles in Turkey, which were already obsolete, in exchange for the Cuban missiles. However, the Turkish missiles would be removed in a short time after the Cuban missiles were removed. This was Adlai Stevenson’s idea of the exchange of missiles. They reached this compromise by meeting with Dobrynin and telling him the deal that the United States was willing to make. Dobrynin then promised to tell Khrushchev and to send their response as quickly as possible. Then the next day, Khrushchev agreed to dismantle and withdraw the missiles, and that everything is going to work out satisfactory. This whole process of communicating to Khrushchev and making the deal was the same for both the book and the movie.

Overall, “Thirteen Days”, the book, was quite interesting. I thought it was interesting mostly because I didn’t know what actually happened, so it was new to me. I didn’t think the book was boring at all, and the movie was the same. I thought the movie was directed very well with very few mistakes and differences. The movie and book were extremely similar in the fact that they shared the same events that led to the crisis, the influence of Adlai Stevenson, and the compromise of the Soviet Union and the United States and how that compromise was formed.

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