Arsenals of Folly: The Making of the Nuclear Arms Race

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Pocket, 2009 - Arms race - 386 pages
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.

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User Review  - JonathanCrites - LibraryThing

I really enjoyed this history of the Arms Race (albeit focusing on the end of it, particularly on Gorbachev) and would definitely recommend it. The author makes the reader consider what it all was worth - to put the world on the brink of destruction for so long at such a great cost. Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - nmele - LibraryThing

This is one of the best histories I have read in a very long time. Rhodes uses nuclear weapons policy as the lens through which he views the Cold War. His discussion of Gorbachev is quite interesting ... Read full review

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About the author (2009)

Richard Lee Rhodes is a writer. He was born in Kansas City, Kansas on July 4, 1937. Rhodes received a B.A. from Yale University in 1959. Rhodes has received grants from the Guggenheim Foundation, the Ford Foundation, the Sloan Foundation, the MacArthur Foundation, and the National Endowment for the Arts. He began writing articles and essays that appeared in Harper's, Reader's Digest, Esquire, The New Yorker, and Rolling Stone. Rhodes first book, The Island Ground, was published in 1970. He has written more than two dozen books. Rhodes' book, The Making of the Atomic Bomb won the 1988 Pulitzer Prize for Nonfiction, the National Book Award for Nonfiction, and the National Book Critics Circle Award in General Nonfiction. Another book, Dark Sun: The Making of the Hydrogen Bomb, was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in History in 1996.

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