By John Ostapkovich
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Fifty years ago, the world held its breath as JFK stared down the Soviets in the Cuban Missile Crisis. An author is speculating what if Richard Nixon, not John Kennedy, had been president at the time.
Soviet nuclear missiles being shipped to Cuba, and a US blockade to stop them, all the ingredients for World War Three seemed in the stew in October ’62.
But now with The Madman Theory, Harvey Simon plays a dramatic thought experiment, swapping out our Commander-in-Chief. Simon says he parsed what Nixon and the G.O.P. were about then, into who might have been selected as key advisors.
And this is not a familiar Nixon.
“Nixon, in 1960, having won the 1960 presidential election is a different Nixon than the one we’re familiar with because the one that we know lost the ’60 election and believed it had been stolen from him,” says Simon.
Much of the book is told from the viewpoint of Nixon and First Lady Pat but it also ventures to the other side as they deal with a known anti-Communist, instead of the unknown they actually got.