In Denial is essentially three books in one. At its broadest level it is an examination of the conduct and the effectiveness of secret warfare both historically by the United States during the Cold War, and in the 21st Century by the Russian Federation, China and Iran.
In order to fully explore the temptation and issues of secret warfare – and why it so often fails – a good part of the book digs deeply into the Cuba Project under both the Eisenhower and Kennedy administrations. It then proceeds into the disastrous effort to insert the Cuban Expeditionary Brigade on the beaches at the Bay of Pigs. That portion of the book deconstructs several popular history themes regarding the Bay of Pigs landings – exposing the most fundamental mistakes in planning, logistics and command and control. It also reveals several critical last minute, highly secret measures which were put into play – and their failures. Those actions were known to the CIA project leadership and senior navy offices, but not briefed to or approved by President Kennedy.
Going beyond the Bay of Pigs, the book explores the official investigations of that disaster and the well documented lessons that were learned, lessons that were implemented by President Kennedy over the next two years. But lessons which were almost immediately abandoned by his successors.
For a fuller introduction to In Denial, you may wish to listen to these two recent interviews. The first – which is the shorter – introduces the full scope of the book:
The second interview, over some two hours in length, digs into the Cuba Project and the Bay of Pigs and even then only scratches the surface from an operational standpoint. An examination of the two landing plans – Trinidad and Zapata – the Navy’s actual role in the effort, and the events of the three days and nights on the beaches that will be addressed in a follow up interview.