I was startled by the statement that one reason the United States was not expecting the Soviet Union to put nuclear missiles in Cuba in 1962 was "mirror imaging. American intelligence doubted the Soviets would be overly aggressive in Cuba or take overly provocative actions there, as the US would be reluctant to take similar actions that close to the borders of the USSR." The United States had done exactly the same thing to the Soviet Union shortly before this, by placing nuclear missiles in Turkey.
Did this statement make more sense as presented in the book than it did in the review?
My own interpretation would be exactly the opposite. I think US intelligence believed that the United States was so much more powerful than the Soviet Union that the Soviets would not dare try to behave the way the US behaved. But I am not an expert on this episode.
Interesting. I don't have much confidence in what the CIA believed back in 1962 as the Agency still manages to get a great deal wrong in these latter days (happy to bend ears on Y2K and Iraq WMD), but I think the drastic geopolitical differences between Cuba and Turkey would certainly offer some reason for surprise at Langley and in US policy circles.
Turkey was hardly the only "Western" nation (a NATO member at that time?) adjacent to the USSR and host to US nuclear weapons, with sizeable US military forces not too far away. Cuba, on the other hand, was far from the Soviet homeland and there could be no doubt that the US possessed overwhelming conventional military superiority if push came to shove. I'm sure the appearance of IRBMs on the island must have surprised everyone, and represented a significant policy gamble on the part of the Soviets.