The Dead Hand: Reagan, Gorbachev and the Untold Story of the Cold War Arms Race Paperback – 3 Nov 2011
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'A stunning feat of research and narrative. Terrifying.' -- John le Carre ''The Dead Hand' is a brilliant work of history, a richly detailed, gripping tale that takes us inside the Cold war arms race as no other book has...a story so riveting and scary that you feel like you are reading a fictional thriller.' -- Rajiv Chandrasekaran, author of 'Imperial Life in the Emerald City' 'This is a tour de force of investigative history.' -- Steve Coll 'An extraordinary achievement.' -- Sir Michael Dobbs 'Authoritative and chilling ... a readable, many-tentacled account of the decades-long military standoff between the United States and the Soviet Union ... The Dead Hand is deadly serious, but this story can verge on pitch-black comedy - Dr. Strangelove as updated by the Coen Brothers.' New York Times -- New York Times 'A thought-provoking book which reads like a thriller. A gripping chronicle of the second half of the last century and a brilliant analysis of the single strategic conflict that more than any other shaped today's world.' -- Gordon Thomas, author of 'Inside British Intelligence and Gideon's Spies' 'I found 'The Dead Hand' extremely stimulating. As a Foreign Office Minister I was involved in Gorbachev's meeting with Margaret Thatcher; and as Defence Secretary from 1992-95 I was very much associated with the safe removal of post-Soviet states' nuclear weapons. This book is an excellent history of that period.' -- Sir Malcolm Rifkind, MP 'This book, which won the 2010 Pulitzer Prize for general non-fiction and is soon to be published in the UK, is in the best traditions of American long-form reportage... Key characters are evoked in enough detail to make us care and then carry the narrative through to the end. It involves simplifications and elisions: but in this case, these are less important than the horrified fascination Hoffman - a former Washington Post Moscow correspondent, later foreign editor - succeeds in rousing through a story at once journalistically detailed and morally alive.' -- John Lloyd, FT 'Hoffman's magisterial, human, vividly readable account of a remarkable time doesn't stop in 1991.' -- Peter Preston, Guardian '[Hoffman] has compiled a fascinating narrative of the last phase of the cold war and the era of Mikhail Gorbachev, glasnost and perestroika, which ended amid the collapse of the Soviet Union.' -- Max Hastings, Sunday Times 'This is an important well-written volume that makes a major contribution to our understanding of the last decade of the Cold War and its aftermath.' -- Christopher Andrew, Literary Review '['The Dead Hand'] has important things to say... It is exceptionally well informed. Anyone interested in the Cold War will learn something new from this fascinating, if rather depressing, read.' -- BBC History Magazine 'If you like your history told James Bond style, you'll love this book.' -- Daily Telegraph `David E. Hoffman bagged a Pulitzer for `The Dead Hand: Reagan, Gorbachev and the Untold Story of the Cold War Arms Race' (Icon Books, EURO11.99). The book reads with the pace of a political thriller and includes wonderful insight into the relationship between the Cold War's two central characters who managed to pull their empires back from the brink at a time when they shared an arms arsenal with the explosive power of 1 million Hiroshimas.' -- Irish Examiner
About the Author
David Hoffman is a contributing editor at the Washington Post, where he previously served as White House correspondent, Moscow bureau chief, and assistant managing editor for foreign news.
Top customer reviews
Portrayals of Reagan and Gorbachev very flat and Hollywood-ish - no real critique of their personalities - can they be both really that nice? Glosses over background to split up of Soviet Union, leaving out some interesting details of Gorbachev's final days. Overall - worth the read.
"Dead Hand" documents the unseen side of the arms race as it reached its pinnacle. The Reagan administrations aggressive pursuit of SDI coupled with the deployment of the agile Pershing II missile was a real worry for the Soviet High Command. Yet despite this stance by the US, Reagan was all but desperate to meet face to face with the Soviets leaders and convince them that nuclear weapons should be eliminated !!
A real interesting part of the book describes the complete inconsistency of the Soviet Union's radar coverage which led to the shooting down of flight KAL007, another area of interest covered. Hoffman really captures the total paranoia of the communists and their constant belief that the United States were really planning a first strike strategy against the Soviet Union.
However, the best aspect of the book is the in depth coverage of the Soviet biological weapons programme. A huge amount of detail concerning not only battlefield weapons but also a plan to use biological weapons in a strategic capacity. The collapse of the USSR also led to the inability to account for all the left over weapons grade material as well as the biological germs scattered across several national borders. These materials were completely lacking any security cordon and were literally available to anyone who passed by.
A must for any person interested in Cold War history.
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