Another case of fantasy history

Philip Kerr, in his review of Thirteen Days (The Back Half, 12 March), makes it clear that he does not know the facts surrounding the Cuban missile crisis.

A word to the wise for those interested in history: whenever Kevin Costner bestrides the big screen in an attempt to instruct and enlighten us (as in JFK), keep your hand on your wallet. "Based on RFK's book . . . and [Kenny] O'Donnell's own memoir"? No doubt, in part. But Kerr does his readers a grave injustice by mentioning the director, Roger Donaldson, and the star, Costner, without mentioning the name of the producer who supplied the money: surprise, surprise, O'Donnell's son!

To suggest (as the film does) that a Kennedy family hanger-on such as O'Donnell was storming around the Oval Office giving orders to none other than the hated General Curtis LeMay is, to anyone who knows their history, completely laughable. O'Donnell might have been near the Oval Office during such discussions, but he certainly wasn't in it, as just about every American movie reviewer of this film has pointed out. The film is an admirable offering of a devoted son to a beloved father. To suggest that this is an accurate account of history - as opposed to yet another self-serving American admixture of fact and fantasy - is ludicrous.

Gerard McGorian
Mexico City, Mexico

This article first appeared in the 26 March 2001 issue of the New Statesman, How the rich rule politics again