By: Richard Rhodes
From the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of The Making of the Atomic Bomb comes this brilliant account of the post-war superpower arms race, climaxing during the Reagan-Gorbachev decade when the United States and the Soviet Union came within scant hours of nuclear war -- and then nearly agreed to abolish nuclear weapons. In a narrative that reads like a thriller, Rhodes reveals how the Reagan administration's unprecedented arms build-up in the early 1980s led the Soviets to conclude that the U.S. must be preparing for a nuclear war -- only for Reagan, out of deep conviction, to launch the arms-reduction campaign of his second presidential term and set the stage for the famous 1986 summit with Gorbachev in Reykjavik, and the breakthroughs that followed.
Drawing on personal interviews with both Soviet and U.S. participants, and on a wealth of new documentation that has become available only in the past ten years, Rhodes recounts what actually happened in the final years of the Cold War. The story is new, compelling, and continually surprising -- a revelatory re-creation of a hugely important era of our recent history.