Rebellion of Ronald Reagan: A History of the End of the Cold War

Overview

Drawing on new interviews and previously unavailable documents, James Mann offers a fresh and compelling narrative?a new history assessing what Ronald Reagan did and did not do to help bring America's four-decade conflict with the Soviet Union to a close.

As he did so masterfully in Rise of the Vulcans, Mann sheds new light on the hidden aspects of American foreign policy. He reveals previously undisclosed secret messages between Reagan and Moscow; internal White House ...

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The Rebellion of Ronald Reagan: A History of the End of the Cold War

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Overview

Drawing on new interviews and previously unavailable documents, James Mann offers a fresh and compelling narrative—a new history assessing what Ronald Reagan did and did not do to help bring America's four-decade conflict with the Soviet Union to a close.

As he did so masterfully in Rise of the Vulcans, Mann sheds new light on the hidden aspects of American foreign policy. He reveals previously undisclosed secret messages between Reagan and Moscow; internal White House intrigues; and battles with leading figures such as Richard Nixon and Henry Kissinger, who repeatedly questioned Reagan's unfolding diplomacy with Mikhail Gorbachev. He details the background and fierce debate over Reagan's famous Berlin Wall speech and shows how it fit into Reagan's policies. Ultimately, Mann dispels the facile stereotypes of Reagan in favor of a levelheaded, cogent understanding of a determined president and his strategy.

This book finally answers the troubling questions about Reagan's actual role in the crumbling of Soviet power. Mann concludes that by recognizing the significance of Gorbachev, Reagan helped bring the Cold War to a close.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"A lively and well-researched examination of an important period in American diplomatic history." —-The Boston Globe
Ronald Steel
In fashioning a compelling and historically significant story, Mann has cast new light both on Reagan and on the strange ending of a decades-long conflict between two great imperial powers that somehow, through skill and fear and plain dumb luck, never degenerated into a war that would have destroyed them both. With this book, following John Patrick Diggins's landmark study Ronald Reagan: Fate, Freedom, and the Making of History (2007), Reagan revisionism has truly begun in earnest.
—The Washington Post
Library Journal

Ronald Reagan did not "win" the Cold War, nor was he just historically lucky, as two contrasting viewpoints would sometimes have it. Instead, writes former journalist Mann (author-in-residence, Johns Hopkins Sch. of Advanced International Studies; Rise of the Vulcans), after a career of hard line anticommunism Reagan proved more flexible and visionary than many other leaders of American foreign policy and more opportunistic and insightful into the motives of Mikhail Gorbachev when the Soviet leader signaled change in the USSR's own conventional hard-line position. Mann's book has four sections: an analysis of the long personal and political relationship between Reagan and Richard Nixon, the two leading anti-Communists of their era; the story of how Reagan put to use his friendship with Susan Massie, a writer on Russian history from outside the academic establishment; a close study of Reagan's famous 1987 speech at the Berlin Wall; and an examination of Reagan's final two years in office, when the Cold War began to thaw. Mann bases his argument upon impressive original research, including interviews with principals who range from George Shultz, to Colin Powel, to Helmut Kohl, to Nancy Reagan. Highly recommended for all libraries. [See Prepub Alert, LJ11/08.]
—Bob Nardini

Kirkus Reviews
How Ronald Reagan confounded critics and baffled even his supporters to help end the Cold War. Admirers of the 40th president credit his "evil empire" rhetoric and his military build-up for backing the Soviet Union into an inescapable corner; critics describe him as a merely passive observer who happened to hold office while the Soviet system imploded. Los Angeles Times foreign correspondent Mann (The China Fantasy, 2007, etc.) focuses on what was uniquely Reagan about the ending of the Cold War, a task complicated by the president's opacity, even to those who knew him best. The author masterfully traces the nearly parallel career of Richard Nixon, the only cold warrior whose anticommunist credentials rivaled Reagan's and who cemented a balance of power relationship with the Soviet Union, continued under Ford and Carter. On the campaign trail, Reagan roundly criticized detente. Viewing the Cold War as a struggle of ideas and economic systems, he sought not merely to accommodate the Soviet system but to change it. During his second term, abetted by the unlikely Suzanne Massie, an author who tutored him on the Russian "soul," Reagan understood that Gorbachev was a new kind of Russian leader, one who understood the degree to which the communist system had ossified. Through diplomatic channels both formal and informal, and with a seemingly unerring sense of when to apply pressure and when to ease up, Reagan matched Gorbachev move for move, as both leaders deflected relentless criticism from hardliners within their own countries. Mann enlivens his account with telling anecdotes-Gorbachev's impatience with Reagan's incessant joking, Reagan's erroneous suspicion that Gorbachev might secretlybelieve in God-and with a brilliant exposition of the tug of war within the administration over Reagan's famous Berlin Wall speech. An incisive illustration of the often underrated role a leader's personality plays in shaping world events. Agent: Rafe Sagalyn/Sagalyn Literary Agency
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781400140626
  • Publisher: Tantor Media, Inc.
  • Publication date: 3/19/2009
  • Format: CD
  • Edition description: Library - Unabridged CD
  • Product dimensions: 6.70 (w) x 6.40 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author


Award-winning reporter James Mann is the author of the New York Times bestseller Rise of the Vulcans: The History of Bush's War Cabinet and The China Fantasy: How Our Leaders Explain Away Chinese Repression, among others.

Alan Sklar is the winner of several AudioFile Earphones Awards and a multiple finalist for the APA's prestigious Audie Award. Named a Best Voice of 2009 by AudioFile magazine, his work has twice earned him a Booklist Editors' Choice Award, a Publishers Weekly Listen-Up Award, and Audiobook of the Year by ForeWord magazine.

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