Customer Reviews for

The Dead Hand: The Untold Story of the Cold War Arms Race and Its Dangerous Legacy

Average Rating 4
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Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 34 Customer Reviews
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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 25, 2011

    Suprising

    Even handed but pulls no punches. Hard to put down, theres
    one terrifying revelation after another in this book. An
    engaging look at how the Cold War worked and the
    occasions when it almost became armageddon.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 20, 2012

    A world gone mad!

    After reading this book, I consider myself (and all of us) lucky to be alive. I served in the Strategic Air Command in the early 50's when we had B-47 bombers in the air, around the clock ready to drop nuclear bombs on the Soviet Union. My son served with the Berlin Brigade in the early 80's, and with him we saw first-hand the kill-zones separating east and west Berlin and the utter desolation that was East Berlin. Little did I know the madness that was taking place at that time in Soviet Union where, in addition to nuclear arms, the most horrific biological weapons imaginable were being designed and produced. It could only have been the hand of god that kept the United States and the Soviet Union from accidently blowing up the entire world, but if you don't believe this, at least give Ronald Reagan credit for his major role in reversing this madness and ending the cold war. This book is well written - readable - and ought to be read.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 6, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    Fascinating untold history of the Cold War

    I heard about this book on an NPR program talking about a Russian "doomsday machine" that was built during the Cold War... It was interesting to say the least! I ended up buying this book about a week later in order to get additional information for a term paper about the United States' policy of Assured Destruction in a United States Diplomatic History course. It was full of interesting information that I had not known about the Cold War. The book was well written and had me hooked from the introduction. Highly recommended.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 11, 2014

    Hoffman's "The Dead Hand" focuses at the weapons of ma

    Hoffman's "The Dead Hand" focuses at the weapons of mass destruction programs in the former Soviet Union, and the resulting state of those systems in the post Soviet era. Of particular interest to me was the project called The Dead Hand, an ultimate weapon that would supposedly launch all of the then USSR's strategic thermonuclear armed missiles to their assigned targets in the countries considered to be their "adversaries." The trigger was supposed to be the destruction of the center of Soviet government, probably by a deliberate first strike. The intervening years have seen many types of weapons systems which could have serious impacts on Russian and other countries populations, not just nuclear issues but chemical and biological concerns as well. Several issues of accidental releases of all types of agents are reported supported by substantial prime source documents as well as first hand experiences and investigations by the author who is a respected, veteran journalist with extensive assignments in Russia over many years. Mr. Hoffman's research depth and breadth are balanced, well presented and compelling. I strongly recommend this work for anyone interested in the topics presented or the historical period under examination. This work is among the first of its kind focused on the Russian side of the Cold war arms race, an area in which I have had considerable interest as a concerned layman.

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  • Posted December 27, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Superbly written story that is solid history filled with real people often misinterpreted.

    At first disappointed because the book did not begin where I personally thought it should, by the second chapter I was trapped. Mr. Hoffman has produced a work of history filled with real people who held horrifically great power issuing policies mixed with uplifting possibilities and growing abilities to destroy human life. They were immensely complicated people, filled with full doses of normal human frailties, expressing hopes as simplistic as they were simplistically interpreted by those of us who lived when leadership of great nations was in their hands. I learned much of President Ronald Reagan I did not know before. My respect for him went up, but all my votes against him remain, for me, the correct choices. Readers who were born during and after his presidency will learn much about him as well as the very complex Mikhail Gorbachev. The destructive power they inherited (nuclear, biological, chemical) is still with us with decreasing restraints as other seek to obtain portions of it for their own misguided uses.

    Read it! It is a cliche to say Dead Hand reads like a thriller. Anyone who has been through a standard history course in high school or college should be at least minimally familiar as to how it turns out. However, "reads like a thriller" is close. It unfolds like one. The author's access to diaries, letters, and interviews with people who were in the Soviet Union or United States at the times, or were with Gorbachev and Reagan when they were in power allow for learning how people thought, personally felt and mistakes made these possible.

    Thriller it is in spite of being essentially a history of the Cold War. It runs from the times of Presidents Carter and Reagan through the rise of the elder George H.W. Bush and Clinton. Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev and President Reagan are the central personalities as both worked under the weight of misinterpretations, distrust, ambitions and egos of other powerful people around them. The downfall of the Communist Soviet Union is far more than popular, politically oriented interpretations want us to believe.

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  • Posted December 5, 2009

    Cold war behind the scenes

    If you want to know the details and thoughts of the world leadership during the cold war, this is it. It is a very well researched and documented account but still very readable and engaging. Hoffman does a great job of both describing what was going on then and the things we have inherited because of those times. You'll be glad you read it.

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    Posted June 23, 2011

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