I grew up during the cold war era, so I looked forward to reading this book. I am just a bit too young to actually remember the Cuban Missile Crisis. After all, I was two-years-old at the time. However, the story was pretty well-known and often a topic of conversation by people around me during my younger years. Despite that, reading this book was quite a shock. What really floored me while reading The Last Saturday of October, was how much we did not know.
A Historic Cold War Thriller
This story is a thriller and a historical bombshell. Written from the point of view of the Russians, the story is meticulously researched with much of the information only declassified in recent years. The characters are real and so well developed that you actually become part of the conversation and part of the story. You have the very real feeling that you too are on the submarine, and experiencing the same wet, cold, fear, discomfort, and uncertainty that the crew of submarine B-59 was dealing with.
What is truly extraordinary is the fact that, if not for the last minute moral decisions of a few Russian men, and especially Vasili Arkhipov, the world today would be very different. Many do not know just how dangerously close we came to nuclear war. It was a unique moment when that realization dawned on me.
Read The Last Saturday of October
Douglas C Gilbert (no relation) clearly knows his subject matter and probably has first-hand naval training or experience. I would certainly not be at all surprised to learn the author served a few years in the U.S. Navy. The dialogue and terminology ring very true throughout the story. The research and documentation are very impressive.
The Last Day of October is a must read for history buffs, military history enthusiasts, and anyone who enjoys well-written historical fiction. I give this book 5 out of 5 Stars and highly recommend it!
If you think you might enjoy The Last Day of October, you might also want to check out Serpents Underfoot!