Source Material: The 1997 Published Transcripts of the JFK Cuban Missile Crisis Tapes: Too Good to Be True?
Version of Record online: 16 FEB 2004
Presidential Studies Quarterly
Volume 30, Issue 3, pages 586–593, September 2000
How to Cite
STERN, S. M. (2000), Source Material: The 1997 Published Transcripts of the JFK Cuban Missile Crisis Tapes: Too Good to Be True?. Presidential Studies Quarterly, 30: 586–593. doi: 10.1111/j.0360-4918.2000.00131.x
- Issue online: 16 FEB 2004
- Version of Record online: 16 FEB 2004
- Cited By
Scholars now have access to audiotapes of the meetings between President Kennedy and his advisers made during the 1962 Cuban missile crisis. Since 1997, a set of transcripts edited by Ernest R. May and Philip D. Zelikow has been available from the Harvard University Press. This article, by the former Kennedy Library historian who listened to these tapes between 1981 and 1996 and recently checked selections from the published book against the recorded words, reveals that the transcripts contain many errors that significantly distort the historical record. The author discusses a representative sample of these inaccuracies, suggests how they can mislead scholars, and argues that subsequent printings and future revised editions should document and identify all changes and corrections of the original 1997 transcripts.