The story of the postwar superpower arms race, climaxing during the Reagan-Gorbachev decade. Drawing on a wealth of new documentation, Rhodes reveals how the Reagan administration's unprecedented arms buildup in the early 1980s led Soviet leader Andropov to conclude that Reagan must be preparing for a nuclear war. In 1983, when NATO staged a larger than usual series of field exercises, the Soviet military came very close to launching a defensive first strike. Then Reagan launched the arms-reduction campaign of his second presidential term and set the stage for his 1986 summit with Gorbachev in Reykjavik. Rhodes reveals the early influence of neoconservatives, demonstrating how the manipulation of government and public opinion with fake intelligence and threat inflation, which the administration of George W. Bush has used to justify current 'war on terror' and the disastrous invasion of Iraq, were developed and applied in the Reagan era and even before.--From publisher description.