The War That Never Wasby Michael A. Palmer
From one of America's prominent naval historians comes this suspenseful novel about the war that nobody wanted and everyone planned for -- the Third World War between the United States and the Soviet Union. Set in the year 1999, The War That Never Was is an insightful, gripping, fast-paced account of what happens when top political and military advisers from the United States and the Soviet Union meet to launch the ultimate war game: World War III between the greatest superpowers on Earth.
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I found this book when it came out in hardback and it was a treasure. I think it is the best look at what a conventional war between the Soviet Union and NATO would have been like in the 1980s, the time when the Soviets were approaching desperation. While not really a novel (for one, there are no real central characters), it is excellent speculative fiction, and I highly recommend it.