In a narrative that moves like a thriller, Rhodes sheds light on the Reagan administration's unprecedented arms buildup in the early 1980s, as well as the arms-reduction campaign that followed, and Reagan's famous 1986 summit meeting with Gorbachev. Rhodes' detailed exploration of events of this time constitutes a prehistory of the neoconservatives, demonstrating that the manipulation of government and public opinion with fake intelligence and threat inflation that the administration of George W. Bush has used to justify the current "war on terror" and the disastrous invasion of Iraq were developed and applied in the Reagan era and even before.
Drawing on personal interviews with both Soviet and U.S. participants, and on a wealth of new documentation, memoir literature, and oral history that has become available only in the past 10 years, Rhodes recounts what actually happened in the final years of the Cold War that led to its dramatic end. The story is new, compelling, and continually surprising - a revelatory re-creation of a hugely important era of our recent history.
©2007 Richard Rhodes; (P)2007 Books on Tape
"The clarity of the historical record reinforces Rhodes' fiercely held political convictions." (Publishers Weekly)
this is a gripping book. I was a big fan of Rhodes' "Making of the Atomic Bomb". It should be noted that this book is both history mixed with a significant amount of 'editorial',i.e. it is much more biased. Instead of just focusing on facts, the author's deep seeded believe that the arms race was avoidable, tragic, and a huge waste of resources is more than evident. I would have preferred he let the reader come to his/her own conclusions.
that being said, the book starts with an unbelievable chapter about the Chernobyl disaster, setting the stage for the rest of the story. This is an incredible way to do this, becuase it makes the reader realize in real terms what nuclear war would have been like, given that Chernobyl would only be a taste of the devastation.
The middle sections of the book are a little dry, with long discussions about particulars of the gorbachov/Reagan summits the go one for lengthy periods. The West (and the Reagan administration in particular, although not necessarily Reagan himself) comes out of the book looking quite silly, while Gorbachev comes out looking quite heroic. i am not sure things are really that black and white.
In the end though, this was just an awesome look back at how isolated decisions look silly in a historical context, and makes you wonder what type of silly decisions we are making today. would recommend highly.
Narration is outstanding as well.
Richard Rhodes, once again, takes a complex story and brings it alive in both character and detail. I can't say enough about the compelling nature of Mr. Rhodes's writing (on whatever subject). Any of his books are highly recommended.
The narration is monotonous, slow and tired. Its as if the reader is falling asleep and also trying to scare you with the most grading fake deep voice. It sounds ridiculous. Bought and read this important book myself. The book is highly recommended, the audiobook not at all.
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