Synopses & Reviews
The Cold War had seemed like a permanent fixture in global politics, and until its denouement, no Western or Soviet politician had foreseen that an epoch defined by games of irreconcilable one-upmanship between the worldand#8217;s most heavily armed superpowers would end in their lifetimes. Under the long, forbidding shadow of the Cold War, even the smallest miscalculation from either side could result in catastrophe.
Everything changed in March 1985 when Mikhail Gorbachev became the leader of the Soviet Union. Just four years later, the Cold War and the arms competition was over. The USSR and the US had peacefully and abruptly achieved an astonishing political settlement. But it was not preordained that a global crisis of unprecedented scale could and would be averted peaceably.
Drawing on new archival research, Robert Serviceand#8217;s gripping new investigation of the final years of the Cold Warand#151;the first to give equal attention to the internal deliberations from both sides of the Iron Curtainand#151;opens a window onto the dramatic years that would irrevocably alter the worldand#8217;s geopolitical landscape, and the men at their fore. The End of the Cold War captures the astonishing relationship between Reagan and Gorbachev, two exceptional politicians who cooperated against all odds during extraordinary times. Gorbachev made enormous contributions to reconciliation efforts by, for instance, pressing for maintaining support for rapprochement with the US within the Politburo and refusing to sanction military intervention when civil unrest swept the Baltic states in unprecedented numbers. US Secretary of State George Shultz was the first to call for negotiations with the USSR. And Soviet Minister of Foreign Affairs Eduard Shevardnedze too pressed for disarmament and other radical policies as the Soviet economy tumbled. Facing stern resistance from all fronts, against all odds, and working outside the public gaze, these men would engineer the nuclear arms treaties that marked the end of the Cold War.
This definitive insiderand#8217;s account of the 1980s, the final decade of the Cold War, uncovers how closely the world skirted with disaster, and sheds light on the four men who would forever transform the course of modern history and politics.
"In this authoritative and deeply informed political and diplomatic history, Service (Trotsky), a seasoned British historian specializing in studies of Soviet Russia, delivers a masterful account of the final years of the Cold War, when a small, remarkable group of statesmen sought an end to the dangerous standoff between superpowers. Deteriorating economic conditions prompted Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev to introduce radical political and economic reforms and seek rapprochement with the U.S. Meanwhile, American President Ronald Reagan, consumed by the potential horror of thermonuclear holocaust and driven by a vision of global military denuclearization, proved open to the initiatives of the Kremlin reformers. Both leaders contended with domestic sectors of resistance who grumbled at moves toward reconciliation hard-line American right-wingers skeptical of Soviet reforms and 'communist-conservative critics' in the U.S.S.R. uneasy with Gorbachev's concessions and pushed through a series of agreements on nuclear arms reduction. Based on deep, impressive archival research and previously unpublished material, Service strays from triumphalist narratives typical in the West, adopting a bilateral analysis that gives 'equal attention to the Soviet Union and America and their interaction in a churning world of transformation.' This study of the end of a cardinal episode of modern history is scholarly yet accessible: detailed, expansive, and engaging. (Oct.)" Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
About the Author
is a British historian, academic, and author who has written extensively on the history of Soviet Russia, particularly the era from the October Revolution to Stalinand#8217;s death. Service is the author of twelve books, including Spies and Commissars
; the acclaimed Lenin: A Biography
; Stalin: A Biography
; and Comrades: A History of World Communism
. He is currently a professor of Russian history at the University of Oxford, a Fellow of St. Antonyand#8217;s College, Oxford, and a senior fellow at Stanford Universityand#8217;s Hoover Institution.