Cuban Missile Crisis App

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In honor of St. Patrick’s Day, and March as Irish-American Heritage Month, here is an app that covers the foremost crisis of the presidency of John F. Kennedy, one of the most noteworthy Americans of Irish descent. “To the Brink”, which is based on an exhibit at the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum, chronicles the key moments in the Cuban Missile Crisis. In addition to information on the crisis itself, the app includes documents, such as memoranda, from the major participants. The strength of the app is in its presentation. The account of events is divided into paragraph-long sections, requiring one to slide to the next screen in order to continue reading. This makes the story of the crisis read like a thriller, with a cliffhanger “ending” for each snippet. Also, the documents are easy to view, including zooming in, which is especially helpful given that some of them have notes in handwriting.

The app is a bit short on content, however. A guide to the key players, in addition to more information on the events leading up to the crisis, would have been helpful for understanding the broader historical context. (A sliding timeline of events, something that has been used effectively in other history-oriented apps, would have been another nice touch.) These concerns aside, “To the Brink” is a good value for a free app, and it can serve as a useful starting-off point for a more in-depth examination of one of the pivotal events of the Cold War.

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