The groundbreaking and revelatory tale of the most dangerous years of the Cold War and the two leaders who held the fate of the world in their hands. This bestselling history takes us into the tumultuous period from 1960 through 1963 when the Berlin Wall was built and the Bay of Pigs invasion and the Cuban Missile Crisis brought the United States and Soviet Union to the abyss. In this compelling narrative, author Michael Beschloss, praised by Newsweek as “the nation’s leading Presidential historian,” draws on declassified American documents and interviews with Kennedy aides and Soviet sources to reveal the inner workings of the CIA, Pentagon, White House, KGB, and politburo, and show us the complex private relationship between President John F. Kennedy and Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev. Beschloss discards previous myths to show how the miscalculations and conflicting ambitions of those leaders caused a nuclear confrontation that could have killed tens of millions of people. Among the cast of characters are Robert Kennedy, Robert McNamara, Adlai Stevenson, Fidel Castro, Willy Brandt, Leonid Brezhnev, and Andrei Gromyko. The Bay of Pigs invasion, the Vienna Summit, the Berlin Crisis, and what followed are rendered with urgency and intimacy as the author puts these dangerous years in the context of world history. “Impressively researched and engrossingly narrated” ( Los Angeles Times ), The Crisis Years brings to vivid life a crucial epoch in a book that David Remnick of the New Yorker has called the “definitive” history of John F. Kennedy and the Cold War.