Kenneth Michael Absher

DO veteran Kenneth Michael "Mike" Absher died on 25 August 2012. Intelligencer 19.3 (Winter-Spring 2013): 65.

Absher, Kenneth Michael. Mind-Sets and Missiles: A First Hand Account of the Cuban Missile Crisis. Carlisle Barracks, PA: Army War College, 2009.

According to Peake, Studies 54.2 (Jun. 2010) and Intelligencer 18.1 (Fall-Winter 2010), the author worked at ONE and "participated in drafting all" the NIEs "concerning the Cuban missile crisis.... Absher summarizes the familiar events of the crisis, emphasizing the mind-sets of key players as they struggled to correlate unsubstantiated agent reports, incomplete U-2 coverage, and political variables as they prepared their estimates. He describes several in which intelligence reports were discounted because they conflicted with conventional wisdom."


Absher, Kenneth Michael, Michael C. Desch, and Roman Popadiuk. Privileged and Confidential: The Secret History of the President's Intelligence Advisory Board. Lexington, KY: University Press of Kentucky, 2012.

Cooper-Wall, Studies 57.1 (Mar. 2013), says this "thoroughly researched and well-crafted" work "brings out the importance of the PIAB while giving it a fair and thorough appraisal." However, "at times one senses that the authors are still fighting an uphill battle to defend the PIAB." For Peake, Studies 57.1 (Mar. 2013), the "documentation" in this work "is excellent.... A chapter of conclusions is well worth close attention."

After noting that "the authors of this book worked with a very thin documentary base," Goulden, Washington Times, 19 Dec. 2012, and Intelligencer 19.3 (Winter-Spring 2013), grudgingly gives a "perhaps" to their contention that "the 'fresh perspective' brought to intelligence issues by outside experts is valuable." Nolen, IJI&C 27.3 (Fall 2014), finds that the authors "have contributed truly new and original research to the academic library on intelligence." However, there is "a focus on minutiae that are not always relevant to the main issue of determining the PIAB's effectiveness."


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