A Spy Like No Other: The Cuban Missile Crisis and the KGB links to the Kennedy Assassination by Robert Holmes

A Spy Like No Other: The Cuban Missile Crisis and the KGB links to the Kennedy Assassination by Robert Holmes delves into a turbulent time in international affairs for the United States. Holmes describes these two events in the context of the espionage world.

Holmes provides a brief history of the Cold War in Europe as it related to spying by the Russians (through the KGB and its military counterpart the GRU) and the Americans (CIA) and British (MI6). Included in the discussion, Holmes introduces two Russians who played a pivotal role (according to Holmes) in the Cuban Missile Crisis and the assassination of President Kennedy. These two Russians were Ivan Serov, head of the GRU and KGB at different times, and Oleg Penkovsky, spy for MI6 and CIA inside Soviet military intelligence.

Although many books have been written about the Cold War and the assassination of President Kennedy, as far as I know, Holmes is the first to connect the Cuban Missile Crisis with the assassination. He theorizes that Lee Harvey Oswald did not act alone in the assassination (nothing new because many others think the same way). But, Holmes takes it a bit further, by reasoning that the President may have been assassinated by a group of rogue Soviet hardliners who were led by Serov and who were eager for revenge against Kennedy’s embarrassment of the Soviet Union in the Cuban Missile Crisis.

I am skeptical of his theory, but Holmes brings in some interesting points. One point is Oswald’s visit to the Soviet consulate in Mexico City. Although Oswald should have gone to Washington D.C. when seeking a visa to return to the Soviet Union, he instead went to the Mexico City consulate. This is strange for several reasons: (1) the consulate did not issue visas; (2) he chose an odd time to visit the consulate (on a Saturday morning when no one should have been there); and (3) three Soviet personnel were at the consulate when he visited and all three were KGB agents – one with connections to the hardliners.

If nothing else, the book is an interesting look at the spy games during the Cold War.

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