The World at the Brink
By Taylor Downing
A tense, thrilling account of how, in 1983, tensions between the United States and the Soviet Union nearly caused global Armageddon.
In 1983 cinema audiences flocked to see the latest James Bond movie in which Roger Moore defeats a Soviet general who attempts to launch a nuclear first strike against the West. Like all Bond movies, audiences believed that the storyline was entirely fictional if not totally crazy. Little did they know that while they munched on their popcorn, the Soviets were indeed preparing to launch a real nuclear attack on the West.
1983 was a perilous year. In the United States, President Reagan increased defence spending and launched the 'Star Wars' Strategic Defence Initiative. When a Soviet plane shot down a Korean civilian jet, he described it as 'a crime against humanity'. Moscow was growing increasingly concerned about America's language and behaviour. Would they attack? The temperature was rising, fast. Then came the West's real-life wargame. Abel Archer. An East German spy convinced his masters that an authentic attack on the Soviet Union was being prepared. The world was truly at the brink.
In 1983, Taylor Downing draws on previously unpublished interviews, and over a thousand pages of secret documents that have recently been released by Washington to tell the gripping, astonishing story that was almost the end of the world. Sometimes fact is stranger than fiction.
Taylor Downing was educated at Cambridge University and is the author of The Cold War, Breakdown (about shell-shock in WWI) , and Churchill's War Lab. His books are 'vivid and fast-paced' (Financial Times).
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- Publication date:
26 Apr 2018
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