The Dead Hand

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  • Edition: 1st
  • Format: Trade Paper
  • Copyright: 8/3/2010
  • Publisher: Anchor
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The first full account of how the Cold War arms race finally came to a close, this riveting narrative history sheds new light on the people who struggled to end this era of massive overkill, and examines the legacy of the nuclear, chemical, and biological weapons that remain a threat today.

Drawing on memoirs, interviews in both Russia and the US, and classified documents from deep inside the Kremlin, David E. Hoffman examines the inner motives and secret decisions of each side and details the deadly stockpiles that remained unsecured as the Soviet Union collapsed. This is the fascinating story of how Reagan, Gorbachev, and a previously unheralded collection of scientists, soldiers, diplomats, and spies changed the course of history.

“Revealing, alarming and compelling throughout. . . . This richly reported account vividly chronicles the insanity of the arms race. . . . Taut, crisply written. . . . The Dead Hand puts human faces on the bureaucracy of mutual assured destruction, even as it underscores the institutional inertia that drove this monster forward. . . . A fine book indeed.”-T. J. Stiles, Minneapolis Star Tribune

“Gripping. . . . Hoffman reinforces his scary thesis with breathtakingly detailed research.”-St. Louis Post-Dispatch

“Unsettling. . . . The Dead Hand argues convincingly that America’s victory in the Cold War wasn’t nearly as triumphant as the most self-congratulatory among us have tended to believe.”-The Washington Post

“A stunning feat of research and narrative. Terrifying.”-John le Carré

Author Biography

DAVID E. HOFFMAN is assistant managing editor for foreign news at the Washington Post and author of The Oligarchs: Wealth and Power in the New Russia. He lives in Maryland.

From the Hardcover edition.

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Customer Reviews

A Must Read on Cold War History May 9, 2011
This is an amazing textbook detailing the history of nuclear weapons and arms control negotiations throughout the Cold War. Highly informative and well detailed, The Dead Hand provides numerous accounts from the former Soviet superpower as well as an inside look at both sides from the leadership to the very people who created the weapons from hell. I recommend this textbook to any reader interested in the aftermath of the Soviet era.
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The Dead Hand: 5 out of 5 stars based on 1 user reviews.

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