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Victory: The Reagan Administration's Secret Strategy That Hastened the Collapse of the Soviet Union Paperback – April 1, 1996


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Atlantic Monthly Press (April 1, 1996)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0871136333
  • ISBN-13: 978-0871136336
  • Product Dimensions: 9 x 6 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.1 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (32 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #742,082 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Beginning in 1982, according to the author, then President Ronald Reagan and his senior advisers mapped out a systematic strategy to hasten the demise of the Soviet Union by attacking its fundamental economic and political weaknesses. In a convincing, startling expose that reads like a spy thriller, Schweizer ( Friendly Spies ) draws on interviews with Caspar Weinberger, George Shultz, KGB generals, Politburo members, Reagan advisers and others to show how the Reagan administration used covert operations, hidden diplomacy, military build-up and policy maneuvers to exacerbate the Soviet crisis in natural resources, sow political discord and weaken the Soviet empire. The Reagan strategy, as revealed here, included restricting Soviet access to Western credit and technology, covert financial and logistical support to Poland's Solidarity movement and to the Czech underground, a campaign to slash Soviet hard currency earnings by driving down the price of oil with Saudi cooperation, and substantial covert aid to the Afghan resistance fighting the Soviet invasion.
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Library Journal

To exhaust the Soviet economy, the Reagan administration tightened technology export controls, launched SDI, funded Afghan resisters, and induced the Saudis to keep oil prices low. The unfolding of this not-so-secret strategy, in which CIA director William Casey took a leading role, is admiringly recounted by the author of Friendly Spies (Atlantic Monthly, 1993) with "re-created" dialogs and homey details of Casey's secret meetings with friendly despots like Pakistan's General Zia and the Saudi royal family. Specifics of the CIA's technology disinformation program and of its relationships with the Vatican, Solidarity, and the Voice of America make interesting reading. Otherwise, there's little new here other than the notion that Casey's maneuvers were key to the demise of the Soviet empire, which, as Schweitzer admits, was already in deep economic trouble by the end of the Carter administration. For general readers with a taste for tabloid history-Robert Decker, Palo Alto, Cal.
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

More About the Author

Peter Schweizer is the President of the Government Accountability Institute, the William J. Casey Fellow at the Hoover Institution, Stanford University , and a best-selling author, most recently of "Throw Them All Out: How Politicians and Their Friends Get Rich off Insider Stock Tips, Land Deals, and Cronyism That Would Send the Rest of Us to Prison" (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2011).

Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
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It is without a doubt, one of the finest, most interesting books on history that I have ever read.
KENNETH DEMSTER
This book is an interesting collection of true-life spy stories, behind the scenes political maneuvering, and good old-fashioned covert operations.
John G. Hilliard
A book such as this one will be all the more important then, as a reminder of what was done and how and why it was done.
E. Eggen

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

42 of 47 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on April 7, 2001
Format: Paperback
In this book, Peter Schweizer not only gives detailed accounts of the behind-the-scenes strategies on how the Reagan Administration finalized the downfall of the Soviet Union, he thouroughly documents his sources. Schweizer conducted numerous personal interviews with high-ranking officials that worked during the 1980s at the CIA, National Security Administration, and the State Department. From those he lays out how the Reagan teamers put the Soviet Union in a fatal chokehold through three main areas: 1) bargaining with Saudi Arabia to drive oil prices down, ruining Russia's main source of revenue, 2) covert operations to supply the mujahedin fighters in Afghanistan with the arms to expel Russian forces from their country, and 3) underground support for Solidarity members in Poland.
A student friend of mine was taking a course in which his professor was a former head of counterintelligence at the CIA, so I had my friend ask his professor to verify the legitimacy of Schweizer's book. My friend reported back that the professor, who says many reports have been almost fictional, said that he HIGHLY recommends this book for the most honest assessment of how Ronald Reagan and his team won the Cold War.
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36 of 41 people found the following review helpful By Timothy Ritter on October 9, 1998
Format: Paperback
Once in awhile a book comes along that has that special quality of illuminating a real world mystery. Robert Caro's biography of Johnson and Albert Speer's memoir are two such works. Peter Schweizer's Victory is another.
For years I wondered, as I read news accounts and histories, why no one had a logical explanation for why oil prices had dropped so dramatically in 1985, when just a couple years earlier pundits were saying the sky was the limit for oil. And why, shortly thereafter, did the Eastern Bloc begin to crumble, soon to be followed by the Soviet Union itself? Then why did the Bush Administration see fit to conduct a war to liberate Kuwait and protect Saudi Arabia? And were all these momentous events related? The answer is yes. Victory describes clearly how they all were indeed closely related.
King Fahd of Saudi Arabia was worried that he would be overthrown as the Shah of Iran had been, either by Muslim extremists, or by Soviet backed revolutionaries. At the same time, the Reagan Administration was interested in the economic strangulation of the Soviet Union. The source of most of the USSR's hard currency was the sale of its oil on international markets. So a deal was struck.. The US would guarantee the security of the Saudi monarchy with AWACS jets and Stinger missiles and, ultimately, US armed forces. In return, Saudi Arabia would flood the market with oil, driving the price for a barrel of crude from $35 down to $10.
With its oil income cut by 70%, Moscow could no longer buy the technology it needed to keep pace in the arms race, let alone dole out largesse to Poland or East Germany. And when Iraq invaded Saudi Arabia's tiny neighbor Kuwait, it was time for the US to uphold its part of the bargain.
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17 of 18 people found the following review helpful By Warren Norquist on April 2, 2000
Format: Paperback
VICTORY opens with a quote by former KGB general Oleg Kalugin: "American policy in the 1980s was a catalyst for the collapse of the Soviet Union." VICTORY REVEALS HOW. This is living history from over twenty major players, with those interviewed listed at the end of each chapter. Several including Caspar Weinberger, John Poindexter, Bill Clark and Roger Robinson also reviewed the manuscript. The introduction lists seven key elements of the plan initiated by Reagan in early 1981. It points out that Reagan unlike some other Presidents did not view arms control agreements and treaties as the measure of his success. VICTORY is an account of the secret offensive including economic and psychological fronts designed to win the Cold War. Reagan used our strengths to take advantage of Soviet weaknesses. After success, the task is often seen as easy. The details in the book showed that winning the Cold War was made much harder by some Americans and many Western Europeans, some of whom now say it was inevitable You will see how critical, for instance, the AWACS aircraft were to the outcome.
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25 of 28 people found the following review helpful By Harold C. Hutchison on November 14, 2002
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Peter Schweizer's first contribution to the telling the untold stories of the efforts of the Reagan Administration is quite stunning - offering a uniques inside perspective to the operations and the planning of them that led to the memorable scenes of the Belrin Wall falling.
"Victory" is the story of what happened, and the planning that went on behind the scenes, orchestrated by then-DCI William Casey, who took lessons learned while fighting Adolf Hitler as part of the OSS in World War II, and applied them to fighting the Soviet Union.
Casey will probably go down in history as one of the America's great unsung heroes, joining men like Edwin T. Layton and Joe Rochefort. Schweizer's efforts have laid out this untold story, fought in the shadow world of espionage and covert operations in an engaging story.
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18 of 20 people found the following review helpful By John G. Hilliard on April 23, 2002
Format: Paperback
This book is an interesting collection of true-life spy stories, behind the scenes political maneuvering, and good old-fashioned covert operations. What got me so interested in the book in the first place was the A list of people the author interviewed for the book - Caspar Weinberger, Robert MacFarlane, George Schultz, Richard Pipes, Herb Meyer, and Richard Allen. Other then actually being part of the meetings and operations, I do not know how the author could have got a better description of the events.
The book gives you a run down of some of the more successful and not all that well-known operations that the Reagan team pulled off during his administration. I was really surprised at all the focus and wrangling on the oil prices and the behind the scenes work the U.S. did for the Gulf States. I couldn't help but think that the Shah of Iran was correct in blaming the Carter administration for his downfall given all the other support that America could give to keep these leaders in power. We also get a large dose of the help the U.S. and the Vatican provided to the Poland Solidarity group. Reagan just had his hand in everything.
My only issue with the book is that I would have liked a bit more overall detail, the book was a bit short I thought. I would have liked another 50-100 pages. The author did a good job, but he is not an edge of the seat author. He just spelled out the case very professionally with a little pro Reagan bias. For an interesting different view of many of these operations I would suggest you find a copy of "The Forth World War". It is the memoir of the head of the French version of the CIA during the late 70 - 80's and deals with a lot of the same issues and operations that this book covered. The bonus of the book is some very reviling and interesting predictions about his view of the upcoming worldwide religious war.
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