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A meticulously researched and penetrating analysis of the Cold War, and the man who ended it. Peter Schweizer delves into the origins of Ronald Reagan’s vision of America, and documents his consistent, aggressive belief in confronting the Soviet Union diplomatically, economically, and militarily.
Ronald Reagan is often dismissed as an “amiable dunce,” a genial actor who simply mouthed whatever slogans his right-wing puppet masters put in front of him. Reagan’s War brilliantly overturns this myth. Drawing on private diaries dating from Reagan’s days as an actor and extending through his presidency, Peter Schweizer, a well-known historian of the Cold War, shows that Reagan’s fervent anticommunism marked every era of his life and was the driving force behind his policies as president.
Schweizer explores Reagan’s involvement with anticommunist liberals in Hollywood and his role as a secret informer for the FBI. Reagan’s outspoken criticism in the late 1960s and his forceful advocacy for the overthrow of the USSR drew the attention of Soviet officials, who began a KGB file on him when he was still governor of California. By the time he was elected president, they viewed him as a serious threat to their interests. Reagan’s War shows just how right they were, presenting compelling evidence that Reagan personally mapped out and directed a campaign to bankrupt the Soviet Union and wage an economic and political war against Moscow.
In telling the story of Reagan’s ultimate triumph, Schweizer also brings to light dozens of previously unknown facts about the Cold War, based on secret documents obtained from archives in Russia, Germany, Poland, Hungary, and the United States. Among his many startling revelations are Kissinger’s private deals with Soviet leaders that protected his own political viability while allowing the Soviets to pursue their goals within their own sphere; a North Korean and East German plot to assassinate Reagan in 1983; Reagan’s secret funding of Solidarity in Poland; and the behind-the-scenes support Soviets and East Germans provided for European and American peace movements, as well as their clandestine contacts with U.S. government officials.
A fresh, often startling look at Ronald Reagan and his central role in winning the war for global dominance in the 1980s, Reagan’s War is a major work of twentieth-century history.
“A rousing and compelling case that Reagan’s personal and political odyssey...was central to bringing down the ‘evil empire.’” —Los Angeles Times Book Review
“Masterful. . . . After Schweizer, even inveterate Reagan-haters will have to abandon the picture of an amiable dunce drifting passively while a handful of advisers set the agenda.” —Foreign Affairs
“A fascinating, well-written, useful and important look at one of the three or four most important American political leaders of the 20th century. No serious assessment of the 40th president of the United States can ignore the central importance of anti-communism in his career; after Schweizer, none will.” —The Washington Post Book World
“Peter Schweizer has written a profound and important book which is also compulsive reading. The Ronald Reagan he depicts is a man utterly consistent in his beliefs and analysis from his earliest forays into politics. While others were distracted by short-term considerations, President Reagan single-mindedly pursued his vast strategic goals—and he succeeded. Was there ever a better example of statesmanship in action?” —Lady Margaret Thatcher
“Ronald Reagan played an invaluable role in bringing about the fall of communism and ending the Cold War without resorting to military solutions. Without his great political sense and prudence, instead of the popping of champagne corks, the world would have heard real artillery shots. We [in the Solidarity movement] sensed President Reagan’s support and understanding and never had to ask for or demand it. This is not something easily found in the world of politics.” —Lech Walesa, former president of Poland
“In Reagan’s War, Peter Schweizer has given us a timely and skilled history of Ronald Reagan’s 40-year struggle against Communism that brings home the twin beacons he followed: we must be guided not by fear but by courage and moral clarity. This is a superb history that demonstrates why Reagan won the Cold War, and why it never would have been won without him.” —Caspar W. Weinberger, Chairman, Forbes, Inc.
“A masterstroke. Schweizer uses the secret archives of the Soviet Union and its satellites to outline with amazing detail the seriousness of the Soviet threat, the failures of the American establishment, and the brilliance of Reagan’s strategy for victory. If you want to understand how we can win the war against Islamic extremists, study how Reagan achieved victory over communism in Reagan’s War.” —Newt Gingrich, former Speaker of the House