Essence of Decision

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Essence of Decision: Explaining the Cuban Missile Crisis is book by political scientist Graham T. Allison analyzing the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis. Allison used the crisis as a case study for future studies into governmental decision-making. The book became the founding study of the John F. Kennedy School of Government, and in doing so revolutionized the field of international relations.

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Essence of Decision: Explaining the Cuban Missile Crisis
AuthorGraham T. Allison
SubjectGovernmental decision-making during the Cuban Missile Crisis
Publication date

Allison originally published the book in 1971. In 1999, because of new materials available (including tape recordings of the U.S. government's proceedings), he rewrote the book with Philip Zelikow.

The title is based on a speech by John F. Kennedy, in which he said, "The essence of ultimate decision remains impenetrable to the observer - often, indeed, to the decider himself."