Red Heat

Conspiracy, Murder, and the Cold War in the Caribbean

Alex von Tunzelmann


From the New York Times Bestselling Author of Indian Summer

During the presidencies of Eisenhower, Kennedy, and Johnson, the Caribbean was in crisis. While the United States and the Soviet Union acted out the world’s tensions on Cuba, Haiti, and the Dominican Republic, the powerbrokers of these three critical island nations---the Castro brothers, Che Guevara, Rafael Trujillo, and François "Papa Doc" Duvalier---had ambitions of their own. Steeped in new material and eyewitness reports, Red Heat is an authoritative account of a wildly dramatic and dangerous era of international politics that has unmistakable resonance today.


Read an Excerpt

The Secret War

The plot was aimed at New York: the most famous city in the richest nation on earth, and the most sought-after prize for any anti-American terrorist. Reports said it was put into motion by a cell of fanatical young men, who saw the United States, with its interventionist foreign policy, as the world's oppressor.

A series of sensational attacks had been planned to hit almost simultaneously across the northeastern United States, with vast and indiscriminate loss of life. The targets were chosen because they were symbols of American wealth or the American military. New



Praise for Red Heat

“Depicts the swaggering, corrupt, erratic, and often violent years of rule by Fidel Castro of Cuba, Rafael Trujillo of the Dominican Republic, and François Duvalier of Haiti. Suitcases full of cash, torture chambers, gunboats, coups, dictatorship, and revolutionary fervor spill out of these pages….Captures the missile crisis as a frightening and real dance of knives in a dusty Caribbean cockfighting square.” —David E. Hoffman, The Washington Post

“Deftly juggles the stories of three countries---Cuba, Haiti, and the Dominican Republic---and their relationships with the superpowers, where things were not as they seemed…Von Tunzelmann tells stories so bizarre as to be beyond any but the most grotesque horror films….It is good to see this tale, so often seen in world terms, as part of a contiguous regional story.” —The Guardian (London)

“A sweeping history…Von Tunzelmann writes with the same verve and range of material she deployed in Indian Summer, a praised treatment of the end of the [Indian] British Empire.” —Financial Times (London)

“A mesmerizing, Conradian tale where the truth is almost too dark to bear. A remarkably gripping popular history.” —Kirkus Reviews

“Von Tunzelmann’s diligent work will widen the eyes of cold war buffs.” —Booklist

Praise for Indian Summer

“Irresistible . . . A fascinating book that may well change how we look on the benighted world in which we live today.” —Los Angeles Times

“Stirring . . . Von Tunzelmann’s brisk narrative is propelled forward by the personalities of five memorable individuals who all wanted and worked for independence. . . . Absorbingly readable.” —Fortune

“[Red Heat] removes the veil from the colorful personalities and events behind India’s independence and partition with Pakistan. . . . Von Tunzelmann writes with authority and confidence.” —The Washington Post

“[A] captivating group portrait, pulling forth the most telling details of each figure's inner life . . . To have turned an era of such significance and continuing relevance into a page-turner, to both entertain and educate, is an admirable accomplishment.” —San Francisco Chronicle

“This brilliantly written, dramatic, and at times controversial account of empire in India is almost impossible to put down. With it, von Tunzelmann has proven herself a force with which to be reckoned, both as a writer and as an historian.” —Caroline Elkins, author of the Pulitzer Prize–winning book Imperial Reckoning: The Untold Story of Britain's Gulag in Kenya

“A brilliantly vivid page-turner that captures the backstage dramas raging on the eve of India's independence.” —Tina Brown

Reviews from Goodreads



  • Alex von Tunzelmann

  • Alex von Tunzelmann is the author of Red Heat: Conspiracy, Murder, and the Cold War in the Caribbean and Indian Summer: The Secret History of the End of an Empire. She was educated at Oxford and lives in London.

  • Alex Von Tunzelmann
    Alex Von Tunzelmann





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    Red Heat

    Conspiracy, Murder, and the Cold War in the Caribbean

    Alex von Tunzelmann