Red Heat

Conspiracy, Murder, and the Cold War in the Caribbean

Alex von Tunzelmann

Henry Holt and Co.

The Caribbean crises of the Cold War are revealed as never before in this riveting story of clashing ideologies, the rise of the politics of fear, the machinations of superpowers, and the brazen daring of the mavericks who took them on

During the presidencies of Eisenhower, Kennedy, and Johnson, the Caribbean was in crisis. The men responsible included, from Cuba, the charismatic Fidel Castro, and his mysterious brother Raúl; from Argentina, the ideologue Che Guevara; from the Dominican Republic, the capricious psychopath Rafael Trujillo; and from Haiti, François "Papa Doc" Duvalier, a buttoned-down doctor with interests in Vodou, embezzlement and torture.

Alex von Tunzelmann's brilliant narrative follows these five rivals and accomplices from the beginning of the Cold War to its end, each with a separate vision for his tropical paradise, and each in search of power and adventure as the United States and the USSR acted out the world's tensions in their island nations. The superpowers thought they could use Cuba, Haiti, and the Dominican Republic as puppets, but what neither bargained on was that their puppets would come to life. Red Heat is an intimate account of the strong-willed men who, armed with little but words and ruthlessness, took on the most powerful nations on earth.


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

"…a mesmerizing, Conradian tale where the truth is almost too dark to bear. A remarkably gripping popular history."—Kirkus


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


Praise for Indian Summer

"Irreistible . . . 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


“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





    Available Formats and Book Details

    Red Heat

    Conspiracy, Murder, and the Cold War in the Caribbean

    Alex von Tunzelmann



    Henry Holt and Co.