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ON THE BRINK: The Dramatic Behind the Scenes Saga of the Reagan Era and the Men and Women Who Won the Cold War Hardcover – April 10, 1996


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 672 pages
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster; First Edition edition (April 10, 1996)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0684809826
  • ISBN-13: 978-0684809823
  • Product Dimensions: 1.8 x 6.5 x 9.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,021,500 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

The thesis that President Ronald Reagan's administration, through its embrace of military confrontation and brinksmanship, hastened the breakup of the Soviet Union and decisively won the Cold War for the U.S. receives a fresh twist in Winik's intensely dramatic, personal narrative history. He credits four members of the Reagan team, all renegade Democrats, with translating the President's hard-line policy into effective diplomacy. The four are Assistant Secretary of Defense Richard Perle, arms control negotiator, supporter of Star Wars and of the deployment of nuclear missiles in Europe; Jeane Kirkpatrick, U.S. ambassador to the United Nations; human rights advocate Max Kampelman; and Assistant Secretary of State Elliott Abrams. Drawing on more than 200 interviews with key participants, private papers, classified documents and memos of conversations, Winik, a professor at the University of Maryland's School of Public Affairs, also provides close-ups of Carter, Mondale, Kissinger, Caspar Weinberger, George Schultz, Paul Nitze and others. His engrossing book is certain to fuel debate.
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Library Journal

Longtime Washington insider Winik recounts how a foreign policy "counterestablishment" during the Reagan administration brought about the end of the Cold War and subsequent downfall of the Soviet Union. His story focuses on Richard Perle, Jeane Kirkpatrick, Eliott Abrams, and Max Kamplemen as beleaguered neoconservatives who battled both the Washington foreign policy establishment and international communism. Writing in a dramatic you-are-there style, he re-creates highly charged conversations and blazing bureaucratic infighting in which the true disciples of Ronald Reagan do indeed prevail. Highly readable, this work does contain some great anecdotes, but it takes such a laudatory perspective that it has little value for academic libraries. Peter Rodman tells much the same story with more objectivity in More Precious Than Peace (LJ 11/1/94). For most large public libraries.?James A. Rhodes, Luther Coll., Decorah, Ia.
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

11 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Thomas Moody on April 25, 2001
Format: Hardcover
Fantastic book! It's a real pleasure to see some of the lower level staff/cabinet people given credit for an historic 8 years. Before I read this book, I had no idea who Richard Pearl was and now I understand why the Reagan Presidency was noted for it's "hawkish" pro-defense policies. The best history reading is one that reads like a novel while still able to get across all pertinate points and this book does so overwhelmingly. "On the Brink" doesn't necessarily cover in detail all the policies and activities of the Reagan administration (like Lebanon or Iran-Contra...read Lou Cannon's "Reagan" for this) but those it does cover, it does so in "delicious/readable" prose. Highly recommended!
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9 of 13 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on December 7, 2000
Format: Hardcover
This was a very good book. The pace and detail kept me glued. I was surprised, however, at how little Reagan is mentioned in the book, given the subtitle. One of the other customer reviewers had it wrong, it was not *one* man (Reagan) who ended the cold war. Rather it was a collection of men and women, and this book brings you their stories (with particular emphasis on Richard Perle).
These were historic times, and while the biased official reviewer is correct in stating that few pages are given to the internal failings of the eastern bloc, to suggest that the hard-line stance of the Reagan administration wasn't the primary instrument of the Cold War victory is ludicrous. It was the Reagan administration after all who seized on the USSR's problems and pushed them over the brink.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Barry Musmon on April 5, 2009
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I forget how I bought this book, more likely my wife bought it, she is very good at knowing what I like, I read it some time ago. I never get into the nuts and bolts of a book, I leave that to others who do it so eloquently. I try to bring perspective on who would like the book. I am one that loves American history in general and books like this where the inner workings of government are so beautifully written about. It has been said, you can tell a persons character by the company they keep. In this case Regan sure knew how to pick his staff. Some one called Richard Perle the star of this book and I agree. I have read various books on the Regan administration and I always find it fascinating and "on the brink" is so well written it keeps you riveted where it is hard to put down, which makes it a very quick read indeed. I just started The Great Upheaval by the author and I am already hooked. No matter your political views, you would have to find this book interesting, buy it.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
All of Jay Wink's books are excellent. This was no exception. If you love history read books by this author.
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