AUTHORAdelman, Kenneth L.
TITLEReagan at Reykjavik: Forty-Eight Hours That Ended the Cold War
PUBLISHERHarper Collins Publishers
CITYNew York, NY
DATE PUBLISHED2014
ISBN978-0-06-2310194


This book recounts one of the most dramatic and spontaneous meetings of the Cold War rivals, discusses its immediate consequences, and speculates on the nature of its historical significance. During the two-day meeting in 1986 that is the focus of the book, U.S. President Ronald Reagan and Soviet Premier Mikhail Gorbachev discussed reducing the numbers of strategic and intermediate-range nuclear missiles. During the second day Reagan suddenly proposed to eliminate all nuclear weapons and Gorbachev agreed. However, later that day Gorbachev set the condition that the U.S. limit research on the Strategic Defense Initiative (SDI) to laboratory testing, which caused Reagan to refuse abolishing the weapons. The dramatic deal that would have altered history then fell apart. The author, who attended the meeting as the director of the U.S. Arms Control and Disarmament Agency, presents an interesting account of the meeting. He was not in the room with Reagan and Gorbachev but took part in the lengthy, high-level discussions with other Reagan administration advisors at Reykjavik. His conclusion that SDI led to the collapse of the Soviet Union has been questioned by other historians.


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