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Reagan and Gorbachev: How the Cold War Ended Paperback – November 8, 2005

ISBN-13: 978-0812974898 ISBN-10: 0812974891

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Random House Trade Paperbacks (November 8, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0812974891
  • ISBN-13: 978-0812974898
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.8 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #176,753 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


Praise for Autopsy on an Empire

“A superb analysis of the achievements and problems of the Soviet system and a fascinating account of the people and events that brought its collapse . . . Matlock writes with the authority of long years of service in Moscow, and at the State Department and the National Security Council. His close-up view of the most important events of our century is the unique product of careful scholarship and an extraordinary diplomatic career.”
–HERBERT J. ELLISON, professor of Russian history, Henry M. Jackson School of International Studies, University of Washington

“No person is better equipped to describe the extraordinary change from the Soviet Union into Russia than Ambassador Matlock. His background in Russian history, language, culture, literature, and politics makes him one of the world’s outstanding authorities on the question. . . . [Matlock] knows practically all of the people about whom he is writing and conveys their character, prejudices, strengths, and shortcomings in vivid colors.”
–MAX M. KAMPELMAN, former counselor of the Department of State and U.S. nuclear arms control negotiator

“No other American had the opportunity to observe the Soviet government’s collapse at such close range. Thanks to Ambassador Matlock’s excellent contacts and mature judgment, his book represents a unique record of this historic event.”
–RICHARD PIPES, Frank Baird, Jr., Professor of History Emeritus, Harvard University

From the Hardcover edition.

About the Author

First posted to Moscow in 1961, career diplomat JACK F. MATLOCK, JR., was America’s man on the scene for most of the Cold War. A scholar of Russian history and culture, Matlock was President Reagan’s choice for the crucial post of ambassador to the Soviet Union. He is the author of Autopsy on an Empire: The American Ambassador’s Account of the Collapse of the Soviet Union. Matlock now divides his time between Princeton, New Jersey, and his wife’s farm in Booneville, Tennessee.

From the Hardcover edition.

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Denis Benchimol Minev on December 22, 2009
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Matlock, the author, was US Ambassador to the USRR and assistant secretary of state during the period of the Reagan administration. This book is written from a US perspective, with rich detail on US positions and thinking and relatively little form the USSR perspective, as is to be expected.

The book goes into detail on Reagan's attempts to negotiate first with Chernenko, then with Andropov and finally with Gorbachev. It goes into especially lively description of the Reykjavik meeting, a low point in the relationship but that turned out to open the door to future agreement. It follows with Reagan's visit to Moscow and his address to the soviet people, followed by Gorbachev's visit to the US.

Though interesting and definitely entertaining, this book is very focused on the specific negociations and meetings between the US and the USSR, not on the general scenario or the outsinde conditions that led the parties to make their choices. It is a bit thin on specifics about the leaders of the negotiation on the USSR side, especially I think because at the time of writing much of these were still not available. I recommend it to those already familiar with the topic who would like a more in depth knowledge of the negotiations, but there are many other books for the first time reader of soviet affairs.
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2 of 4 people found the following review helpful By ET on December 1, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
These two men are absolutley my first heros when it comes to politics. I was never interested in politics until President Reagan and President Gorbachev ended the cold war. God smiled that day and will bless us when we continue to make peace with all of our world brothers and sisters. A clean and peaceful world should be our goal, not making more weapons of mass destruction. Don't the children of this world deserve peace, love and a clean planet? How vile and selfish not to think of them. Hip Hip Hooray for the end to all "Cold Wars" that exist on our planet!!
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1 of 19 people found the following review helpful By You're getting silly now go to bed on March 30, 2012
Format: Paperback
You gotta be kidding. Reagan deserves very little credit for the demise of the Soviet Union. The rise of Pope John Paul II, who was plucked from his position as cardinal in Soviet satellite Poland, had much more to do with it. The Pope visited Poland twice in the first few years of his reign, and in so doing, bolstered the burgeoning Solidarity movement. Russia hesitated to use military force not because of Reagan, the Mitrokhin Archive reveals, but because they knew the Poles would not be quelled. From there, the revolt spread, until in 1989, the Germans cooked up their own revolution based on Soviet missteps and a deep desire for reunification. Reagan's people took credit for something they were not responsible for.
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