Arsenals of Folly: The Making of the Nuclear Arms Race

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Simon & Schuster, 2008 - Arms race - 386 pages
The story of the postwar superpower arms race, climaxing during the Reagan-Gorbachev decade. Drawing on a wealth of new documentation, Rhodes reveals how the Reagan administration's unprecedented arms buildup in the early 1980s led Soviet leader Andropov to conclude that Reagan must be preparing for a nuclear war. In 1983, when NATO staged a larger than usual series of field exercises, the Soviet military came very close to launching a defensive first strike. Then Reagan launched the arms-reduction campaign of his second presidential term and set the stage for his 1986 summit with Gorbachev in Reykjavik. Rhodes reveals the early influence of neoconservatives, demonstrating how the manipulation of government and public opinion with fake intelligence and threat inflation, which the administration of George W. Bush has used to justify current 'war on terror' and the disastrous invasion of Iraq, were developed and applied in the Reagan era and even before.--From publisher description.

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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

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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 (2008)

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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