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Reagan at Reykjavik: Forty-Eight Hours That Ended the Cold War Hardcover – May 6, 2014

4.6 out of 5 stars 67 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

“This is real history and brilliant analysis, a profound book that could only have been written decades after the Reykjavik weekend, which now can be measured by the outcome. With their large humanitarian vision, it is clear that Reagan & Gorbachev helped make the world a much safer place.” (Bob Woodward)

“The weekend meeting in Reykjavik between Reagan and Gorbachev in 1986 marked a significant turning point in the Cold War. Adelman, an active participant in the talks and a gifted writer, has provided a thoughtful account of that episode.” (Henry A. Kissinger)

“A riveting history of one of the most important moments of the Cold War. Adelman has written a page-turning narrative that leaves us on the edge of our seats.” (Ken Burns)

“Reagan at Reykjavik is a lively, important account of an historic weekend. On a barren island nation in the north Atlantic, the two great nuclear adversaries faced reality—and the world was changed.” (Tom Brokaw)

“A fascinating, gripping and essential account of the definitive end-game moment of the Cold War, told by someone who had a front-row seat.” (Christopher Buckley)

“With wonderful insight and color, Ken Adelman details the great drama of the Cold War’s most surprising summit. This book is deeply important in an era when Reagan’s art of principled negotiation needs reviving.” (Walter Isaacson)

“Ken Adelman has written a genuinely fascinating book—vivid and personal, humorous, full of surprising new details. The book’s portrayals are all memorable, but most so when it comes to Ronald Reagan.” (James Fallows)

“A knowledgeable, passionately engaged fly on the wall at one of the least heralded, most productive summits of the Cold War era.” (Ted Koppel)

From the Back Cover

A dramatic account of the historic 1986 Reagan-Gorbachev summit in Iceland—the turning point in the Cold War—by Ken Adelman, Reagan's arms control director and a key player in that weekend's world-changing events

In October 1986, Ronald Reagan and Mikhail Gorbachev met for a forty-eight-hour summit in Reykjavik, Iceland. Planned as a short gathering to outline future talks, the meeting quickly turned to major international issues, including SDI ("Star Wars") and the possibility of eliminating all nuclear weapons. Both men were at the height of their powers, and they had a rare opportunity to move toward peace. The meeting led to negotiations and concessions that neither side had predicted—and laid the groundwork for the most sweeping arms accord in history, adopted the following year, and the end of the Soviet Union a half decade later.

From his position as a participant in these historic events, Ken Adelman is able to reveal the motivations, relationships, and conversations that led to the summit's breakthroughs. His analysis as both a participant and historian provides an invaluable perspective on this uniquely significant episode.

Scrupulously researched and based on now-declassified documents, Reagan at Reykjavik tells the gripping tale of the weekend that changed the world. Adelman provides an honest, laser-etched portrait of President Reagan at one of his finest and most challenging moments—and, indisputably, one of the most significant triumphs of his presidency.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Broadside Books (May 6, 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0062310194
  • ISBN-13: 978-0062310194
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1.2 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (67 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #296,315 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book has the facts, but for me the real fun is the up close and personal picture we get of Reagan and Gorby as they contest and contend with each other. In other words, this book is fun, not just facts and the dry dust of history, but really a tale of two strong and vibrant leaders who come alive as they make history. A truly delightful read.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book helps put to lie the gross misunderstandings and purposeful distortions of President Reagan's contributions resulting in the dissolution of the Soviet Union. President Reagan was intent on dismantling the threat to world peace by the Soviets and he accomplished this task through his principled approach, unilaterally going against the prevailing wisdom and expert advice. A good read that is a compelling to anyone interested in the beginning of the end of the Empire of Evil.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Depiction of Reagan's view of the world and his firm negotiating posture was very enlightening for those who had not seen this side of him reported previously.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book explores the entire depth of the Cold War and the attendant battle of ideas. For someone who went to bed on the evening following Kennedy's chilling address to the nation during the Cuban Missile Crisis wondering I would wake up in the morning in Colorado Springs about a mile from NORAD headquarters. (We assumed we would be the number one target in the event of a nuclear attack.) It was so interesting to learn in the book that Reagan's inspiration for SDI/Star Wars was prompted by his tour of the NORAD complex in Cheyenne Mountain and to learn of the role SDI played in bringing about the end of the Cold War. An truly outstanding book, fully worth twice the price!
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Format: Hardcover
Wonderful story told by the author in a very personal way. This book gives great insight into both Reagan and Gorbachev. Although Gorbachev went to Reykjavik with a definite agenda, Reagan proved to be a better negotiator which led to the evential dissolution of the Soviet Union.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
The reader is truly peeping through the key hole, but with the experienced narrative of a most entertaining friend...whether one knows Ken or not. Regardless of one's politics, the story reveals why Reagan provided an inspiration to so many. Ken's humor and self-effacing style make big history available on a personal basis to us all. As an Air Force Officer involved in intermediate range missile and warhead acquisition for the NATO commander at this time (albeit at the working level), it is fascinating to learn what the Commander in Chief was thinking. Thank, goodness! Perhaps my favorite bit was the 7 person squeeze in the 6 pack bubble room. Classic Adelman. Ken used to engage the meat slicer guy in constant banter at Manny's Deli in Chicago to get more corned beef on the sandwich. It worked, but I suspect the guy knew what Ken was up to and that Ken knew he knew. Ken's deft move to the floor ensured he got his "corned beef" at the summit. The book is just wonderful for the thrill and historical analysis. Read it!
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Format: Hardcover
More on the book… --with K.T. McFarland's interview with Adelman on the show: DefCon3 (access at: Opinion at Fox News)
Adelman speaks well for himself and the book in the Interview.
See: Is American tension with Russia renewing the Cold War?
Ken Adelman explains how its tough to compare Russia to the Soviet Union.
[...]
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Format: Kindle Edition
a fascinating recounting of history from one who was there, and another reminder that the passage of time is required to adequately and accurately assess the full impact of historical events. having lived through the events and heard the mischaricaturizations of this summit and its implications at the time, it is refreshing to see those events in the (proper) context.
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