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

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

ISBN13: 9780385524377
ISBN10: 0385524374
Condition: Standard
Dustjacket: Standard
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Awards

Winner of the 2010 Pulitzer Prize for General Nonfiction

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

“A tour de force of investigative history.” —Steve Coll

The Dead Hand is the suspense-filled story of the people who sought to brake the speeding locomotive of the arms race, then rushed to secure the nuclear and biological weapons left behind by the collapse of the Soviet Union—a dangerous legacy that haunts us even today.

The Cold War was an epoch of massive overkill. In the last half of the twentieth century the two superpowers had perfected the science of mass destruction and possessed nuclear weapons with the combined power of a million Hiroshimas. What’s more, a Soviet biological warfare machine was ready to produce bacteria and viruses to sicken and kill millions. In The Dead Hand, a thrilling narrative history drawing on new archives and original research and interviews, David E. Hoffman reveals how presidents, scientists, diplomats, soldiers, and spies confronted the danger and changed the course of history.

The Dead Hand captures the inside story in both the United States and the Soviet Union, giving us an urgent and intimate account of the last decade of the arms race. With access to secret Kremlin documents, Hoffman chronicles Soviet internal deliberations that have long been hidden. He reveals that weapons designers in 1985 laid a massive “Star Wars” program on the desk of Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev to compete with President Reagan, but Gorbachev refused to build it. He unmasks the cover-up of the Soviet biological weapons program. He tells the exclusive story of one Soviet microbiologist’s quest to build a genetically engineered super-germ—it would cause a mild illness, a deceptive recovery, then a second, fatal attack. And he details the frightening history of the Doomsday Machine, known as the Dead Hand, which would launch a retaliatory nuclear strike if the Soviet leaders were wiped out.

When the Soviet Union collapsed, the dangers remained. Soon rickety trains were hauling unsecured nuclear warheads across the Russian steppe; tons of highly-enriched uranium and plutonium lay unguarded in warehouses; and microbiologists and bomb designers were scavenging for food to feed their families.

The Dead Hand offers fresh and startling insights into Reagan and Gorbachev, the two key figures of the end of the Cold War, and draws colorful, unforgettable portraits of many others who struggled, often valiantly, to save the world from the most terrifying weapons known to man.

Synopsis:

Revealing how close the world had come to nuclear Armageddon, this riveting history sheds new light on the frightening last chapters of the Cold War, and the legacy of the nuclear, chemical, and biological weapons that remain a threat today.

Synopsis:

This riveting narrative history of the end of the arms race sheds new light on the frightening last chapters of the Cold War and the legacy of the nuclear, chemical, and biological weapons that remain a threat today.

During the Cold War, world superpowers amassed nuclear arsenals containing the explosive power of one million Hiroshimas. The Soviet Union secretly plotted to create the “Dead Hand,” a system designed to launch an automatic retaliatory nuclear strike on the United States, and developed a fearsome biological warfare machine. President Ronald Reagan, hoping to awe the Soviets into submission, pushed hard for the creation of space-based missile defenses.

In the first full account of how the arms race finally ended, The Dead Hand provides an unprecedented look at the inner motives and secret decisions of each side. Drawing on top-secret documents from deep inside the Kremlin, memoirs, and interviews in both Russia and the United States, David Hoffman introduces the scientists, soldiers, diplomats, and spies who saw the world sliding toward disaster and tells the gripping story of how Reagan, Gorbachev, and many others struggled to bring the madness to an end. When the Soviet Union dissolved, the danger continued, and the United States began a race against time to keep nuclear and biological weapons out of the hands of terrorists and and rogue states.

About the Author

David E. Hoffman is a contributing editor at the Washington Post, where he previously served as White House correspondent, Moscow bureau chief, and assistant managing editor for foreign news. He is the author of The Oligarchs: Wealth and Power in the New Russia.

He lives in Maryland.

What Our Readers Are Saying

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Average customer rating based on 1 comment:

Kevin McKaig, December 22, 2009 (view all comments by Kevin McKaig)
Excellent read for those like myself who find non-fiction generally more interesting than fiction. Well written and researched, this book will open your eyes to the horrors of the arms race, both the well-known and the well hidden. Definitely recommended.
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Product Details

ISBN:
9780385524377
Subtitle:
The Untold Story of the Cold War Arms Race and its Dangerous Legacy
Author:
Hoffman, David E.
Author:
Hoffman, David
Publisher:
Doubleday
Subject:
Military - Nuclear Warfare
Subject:
Modern - 20th Century/Nuclear Age
Subject:
Military - Biological & Chemical Warfare
Subject:
Cold war
Subject:
United States Foreign relations.
Subject:
World History-1650 to Present
Copyright:
Publication Date:
20090922
Binding:
Hardback
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Illustrations:
Y
Pages:
592
Dimensions:
9.52x6.22x1.57 in. 2.11 lbs.

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Related Subjects


History and Social Science » Military » General History
History and Social Science » Military » Weapons » General
History and Social Science » Politics » Peace and War
History and Social Science » Western Civilization » 20th Century
History and Social Science » World History » 1650 to Present

The Dead Hand: The Untold Story of the Cold War Arms Race and Its Dangerous Legacy Used Hardcover
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$15.50 In Stock
Product details 592 pages Doubleday Books - English 9780385524377 Reviews:
"Synopsis" by , Revealing how close the world had come to nuclear Armageddon, this riveting history sheds new light on the frightening last chapters of the Cold War, and the legacy of the nuclear, chemical, and biological weapons that remain a threat today.
"Synopsis" by , This riveting narrative history of the end of the arms race sheds new light on the frightening last chapters of the Cold War and the legacy of the nuclear, chemical, and biological weapons that remain a threat today.

During the Cold War, world superpowers amassed nuclear arsenals containing the explosive power of one million Hiroshimas. The Soviet Union secretly plotted to create the “Dead Hand,” a system designed to launch an automatic retaliatory nuclear strike on the United States, and developed a fearsome biological warfare machine. President Ronald Reagan, hoping to awe the Soviets into submission, pushed hard for the creation of space-based missile defenses.

In the first full account of how the arms race finally ended, The Dead Hand provides an unprecedented look at the inner motives and secret decisions of each side. Drawing on top-secret documents from deep inside the Kremlin, memoirs, and interviews in both Russia and the United States, David Hoffman introduces the scientists, soldiers, diplomats, and spies who saw the world sliding toward disaster and tells the gripping story of how Reagan, Gorbachev, and many others struggled to bring the madness to an end. When the Soviet Union dissolved, the danger continued, and the United States began a race against time to keep nuclear and biological weapons out of the hands of terrorists and and rogue states.

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