"Moreover, as a student of history, Kennedy likely entertained thoughts of using the tapes in the service of memoirs he’d expected to write. And his interest in war and decision making, enhanced by his appreciation of Barbara Tuchman’s then-recent The Guns of August, which recounted the tragic onset of the First World War, might also have fueled his desire to keep track of how his administration handled itself in moments of crisis.
He certainly got that, and more. His tapes on the Cuban Missile Crisis represent a significant chunk of the 260 hours of conversation he recorded, 248 of them from meetings with groups large and small, and another 12 capturing telephone conversations with aides, legislators, and private individuals. The subjects they cover are among the most significant of the day: civil-rights crises in Mississippi and Alabama, superpower relations and the threat of nuclear war, and an escalating war in Vietnam."