In this memoir, Ambassador Ray Garthoff paints a dynamic diplomatic history of the cold war, tracing the life of the conflict from the vantage points of an observant insider. His intellectually formative years coincided with the earliest days of the cold war, and during his forty-year career, Garthoff participated in some of the most important policymaking of the twentieth century: In the late 1950s he carried out pioneering research on Soviet military affairs at the Rand Corporation. During his four-year tenure at the CIA (1957-61), in addition to drafting national intellingence estimates, Garthoff made trips to the Soviet Union with Vice President Richard Nixon and as an interpreter for a delegation from the Atomic Energy Commission. As a special assistant in the State Department, Garthoff worked with Secretary Dean Rusk., and he was directly involved in the Cuban missile crisis of 1962. Later he served as executive officer and senior State Department adviser for the strategic arms limitation talks (SALT) delegation. In the 1970s he served as a senior Foreign Service inspector, leading missions to a number of countries around the globe. As U.S. Ambassador to Bulgaria (1977-79), Garthoff gained first-hand knowledge of the workings of a communist state and of the Soviet bloc. In the 1980s, Garthoff wrote two major studies of American-Soviet relations. He traveled to the Soviet Union nearly a dozen times in the final decade of the cold war, and in the early 1990s he had access to the former Soviet Communist Party archives in Moscow. Garthoff¡'s journey through the Cold War informs the views, positions, and actions of the past. His anecdotes and observations will be of great value to those anticipating the challenges of reevaluating American post-cold war security policy.