Magazine March 11, 2019, Issue

Back from the Brink

President Ronald Reagan in 1982 (National Archives)
The Brink: President Reagan and the Nuclear War Scare of 1983, by Marc Ambinder (Simon & Schuster, 384 pp., $27); 1983: Reagan, Andropov, and a World on the Brink, by Taylor Downing (Da Capo, 400 pp., $28); A Covert Action: Reagan, the CIA, and the Cold War Struggle in Poland, by Seth G. Jones (Norton, 320 pp., $27.95)

Ask a Baby Boomer — or most historians for that matter — to single out the most perilous moment of the Cold War, and without hesitation the answer will come back: the Cuban missile crisis of October 1962. The Soviet attempt to place nuclear-armed missiles in Cuba brought the United States and the Soviets close to the brink of war, and only the calm and steady ministrations of President John F. Kennedy resolved the crisis peacefully.

Or so the legend goes. Americans didn’t learn for some years that Kennedy agreed secretly to withdraw American missiles from Turkey, which would slowly alter

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Books

Back from the Brink

Steven F. Hayward reviews The Brink: President Reagan and the Nuclear War Scare of 1983, by Marc Ambinder, 1983: Reagan, Andropov, and a World on the Brink, by Taylor Downing, ...

Sections

The Week

The Week

We are surprised that no one has hit upon the obvious solution to the Jussie Smollett mystery: Brett Kavanaugh did it.
Poetry

Song

"Sometimes, sometimes the highway opens up. Among the present passes as we go..."

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