Thirteen Days; a Memoir of the Cuban Missile Crisis Test | Mid-Book Test - Hard

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This test consists of 5 short answer questions, 10 short essay questions, and 1 (of 3) essay topics.

Short Answer Questions

1. Who does JFK meet with whom Robert claims he "trusted implicitly" (51)?

2. In the section entitled, "It was now up to one single man," when did JFK hope to broadcast his plan to the nation?

3. Who was U Thant?

4. What was Robert's main argument against a surprise attack?

5. Who said, "You are in a pretty bad fix, Mr. President" (29)?

Short Essay Questions

1. Why does JFK bring up the book The Guns of August by Barbara Tuchman?

2. What did Adlai Stevenson suggest was a third option for the President to consider? Why was it rejected?

3. How did Ex Comm formulate their recommendations to the President?

4. Why is the "great danger and risk in all of this . . . a miscalculation -- a mistake in judgment" (49)?

5. What was one argument against a blockade?

6. What did the military and JFK do to respond to the submarine situation?

7. What distinguishes Thirteen Days as a memoir (besides the subtitle) and not just an autobiography?

8. How did the US obtain their information about Russian activity in Cuba?

9. What personal insights does RFK provide about JFK when they are waiting for news about the first ships meant to reach the blockade?

10. Why does RFK slip the President a note saying "I now know how Tojo felt when he was planning Pearl Harbor" (25)? How do the situations compare?

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

The extended metaphor of a knot being tied illustrates the tensions that were forming between the U.S. and the Soviet Union. In an essay, analyze the metaphor in detail. Is it an effective metaphor?

Essay Topic 2

Cultural allusions are made to Munich and Pearl Harbor. In an essay, identify which of these events most closely resembles the Cuban Missile Crisis. Give details to support your assertions.

Essay Topic 3

In an essay compare the "hawks" and "doves" from Thirteen Days. What does the symbol mean? Who was a hawk? A dove? How do the symbols help to illustrate their differences?

(see the answer keys)

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