On the Brink: The Dramatic Saga of How the Reagan Adminstration Changed the Course of History and Won the Cold Warby Jay Winik
This sweeping, dramatic narrative of the making and unmaking of foreign policy during the Reagan years is told through the stories of three men and one woman who changed history during one of the world's most decisive and divisive decades. On the Brink also reveals the personal tolls their roles took on these four diplomats, and their contributions to the collapse of communism. 16 photos.
As Winik tells it, the Cold War was "won" by no fewer than four functionaries of the Reagan administration who, like Reagan himself, were all former Democrats: UN ambassador Jeane Kirkpatrick, diplomat and lawyer Max Kampelman, arms control specialist Richard Perle, and Assistant Secretary of State Elliott Abrams. The author depicts liberal and centrist Democrats, media pundits, and establishment Republicans who opposed these and other intrepid figures of Reagan's "counterestablishment" as the hapless also-rans of history. Winik recounts how the "Reaganauts" crafted an American geopolitics of confrontation at odds with the accommodationist policies of the Nixon-Ford-Carter eras, how they took the US "to the brink" of an uncontrolled arms race and possible nuclear war with the Soviet Union, how they opposed Soviet policy in the Middle East and Central America, how they pioneered an American defensive strategy against nuclear attack, and how they "held the line" against dissenters and doubters until the Soviet Union was compelled to yield on arms issues. In the end, Winik at least oversimplifies by arguing that the Reagan administration won the Cold War: He brushes aside the effects of 44 years of consistently anti-Communist American foreign policy, does not discuss the impact of cultural and technological factors on the decline of Communism, and takes little note of significant internal developments in the Soviet bloc.
However, Winik tells a good story, and those who read on after noting the author's subtitle will get, for better or worse, what they should expect.
- Simon & Schuster
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- Product dimensions:
- 6.35(w) x 9.44(h) x 1.73(d)
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Winik is a wonderful writer and he weaves this story magnificently. He proves beyond doubt - to any open minded reader - just how the Reagan administration's prescient policies helped us win the Cold War peacefully. We are indebted to Winik for bringing us this story. I only wish that this book were more readily available.