On October 16, 1973, Secretary of State, Henry Kissinger, received the Nobel Peace Prize for his part in ending the Vietnam War. He was to share it with Le Duc Tho, but the Asian diplomat turned it down, because the conflict—still in process—would not end—until April 30, 1975.
Meanwhile, the peripatetic Kissinger just celebrated his 100th birthday on May 27th, and, as the Associated Press said, “in recent years [he] has continued to hold sway over Washington’s power brokers as an elder statesman. He has provided advice to Republican and Democratic presidents, including the White House during the Trump administration, while maintaining an international consulting business through which he delivers speeches in the German accent he has not lost since fleeing the Nazi regime with his family when he was a teenager.”
The Grateful American Book Prize recommends Kissinger: A Biography by Walter Isaacson.
On October 22,1962, President John F. Kennedy revealed to a stunned country that the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR) had installed a military outpost in Cuba—90 miles away. As he said in a televised speech, “within the past week, unmistakable evidence has established the fact that a series of offensive missile sites is now in preparation on that imprisoned island. The purpose of these bases can be none other than to provide a nuclear strike capability against the Western Hemisphere.”
About a week earlier, according to History.com, “President Kennedy secretly convened an emergency meeting of his senior military, political, and diplomatic advisers to discuss the ominous development. The group became known as ExComm, short for Executive Committee. After rejecting a surgical air strike against the missile sites, ExComm decided on a naval quarantine and a demand that the bases be dismantled, and missiles removed. On the night of October 22, Kennedy went on national television to announce his decision. During the next six days, the crisis escalated to a breaking point as the world tottered on the brink of nuclear war between the two superpowers.”
The Grateful American Book Prize endorses Norman H. Finkelstein’s Thirteen Days/Ninety Miles: The Cuban Missile Crisis.
In 1959, “John Glenn, a lieutenant colonel in the U.S. Marine Corps, was among the seven men chosen by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)…to… become one of America’s first astronauts. A decorated pilot, he had flown nearly 150 combat missions during World War II and the Korean War…” according to History.com.
At 41—in 1962–Glenn was the first of the “group” to circle the Earth- and be hailed as a national hero. Thirty-six years later, the then Senator repeated the trip at 77, and became “the oldest human ever to travel in space. During the nine-day mission, he served as part of a NASA study on health problems associated with aging.”
Glenn passed away on December 8, 2016, at the age of 95.
The Grateful American Book Prize recommends The Last American Hero The Remarkable Life of John Glenn by Alice L. George.
History Matters is a biweekly feature courtesy of The Grateful American Book Prize.