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Way out there in the blue : Reagan, Star Wars, and the end of the Cold War /
Frances FitzGerald.
New York : Simon & Schuster, c2000.
592 p.
More Details
New York : Simon & Schuster, c2000.
catalogue key
Includes bibliographical references and index.
A Look Inside
This item was nominated for the following awards:
Helen Bernstein Book Award, USA, 2001 : Nominated
Lionel Gelber Prize, CAN, 2000 : Nominated
National Book Critics Circle Awards, USA, 2000 : Nominated
New York Times Editors' Choice, USA, 2000 : Won
Pulitzer Prize, USA, 2001 : Nominated
Full Text Reviews
Appeared in Publishers Weekly on 2000-02-28:
Anyone who thinks that Ronald Reagan's "Star Wars" program is dead should read this shocking book by Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Fitzgerald (Fire in the Lake, etc.). The former president's "Star Wars" plan--for laser weapons and space-based missiles intended to make the U.S. invulnerable to nuclear attack--was pure science fiction, writes Fitzgerald, and she notes that no technological breakthrough has occurred that would make Clinton's modified SDI program remotely feasible. Yet the U.S. has spent $3 to $4 billion a year on "Star Wars" in almost every single year since Reagan left office (and, as Fitzgerald observes, there has been almost no public discussion on this issue for several years). Why? The answer, suggests Fitzgerald in this painstakingly detailed study, lies partly in the way "Star Wars" was sold to the American public. By her reckoning, Reagan adroitly filled the role of mythic American Everyman endowed with homespun virtues. Prodded by the Republican right, by military hardliners such as limited-nuclear-war advocate Edward Teller and by deputy national security adviser Robert McFarlane (who, ironically, intended SDI primarily as a bargaining chip with the Soviets), Reagan wholeheartedly embraced the Star Wars concept for ideological reasons; he persuaded the people of its necessity by tapping into America's "civil religion" rooted in 19th-century Protestant beliefs in American exceptionalism and a desire to make the U.S. an invulnerable sanctuary. Part Reagan biography, part political analysis of "his greatest rhetorical triumph," Fitzgerald's study offers a withering behind-the-scenes look at the Iran arms-for-hostage crisis, the Iran-Contra scandals, Reagan's sparring with Gorbachev, arms-control talks such as the Reykjavik summit (at which both leaders almost negotiated away all their nuclear arms but were stalled over SDI) and the grinding of the wheels of the military-industrial establishment. Her book is sure to trigger debate. Agent, Robert Lescher. Author tour. (Apr.) Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.
Appeared in Library Journal on 2000-03-01:
Like Willy Loman in Arthur Miller's Death of a Salesman, President Reagan, who viewed himself as Salesman-in-Chief, believed that a leader has to dream. The Strategic Defense Initiative (SDI) was Reagan's dream of an impenetrable shield located in space that would destroy any nuclear missiles launched at the United States, observes Fitzgerald, 1973 Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Fire in the Lake: The Vietnamese and the Americans in Vietnam. This massive, impressively researched investigation of the SDI, or "Star Wars," defense, incorporates a fascinating portrayal of a president buffeted by Defense Secretary Casper Weinberger and his faction of conservatives, and Secretary of State George Shultz, the leader of the moderates. Reagan's evolving relationship with Soviet president Gorbachev is vividly told through accounts of the Geneva and Reykjavik summits: Reagan is credited with promoting Gorbachev's plan for changing the Soviet Union from the "evil empire" to a modern capitalistic state. Caution: the lengthy, complicated discussions on SDI technology and missile diplomacy are not for the casual reader. Highly recommended for academic and specialized collections on foreign policy and strongly recommended for larger public libraries.--Karl Helicher, Upper Merion Twp. Lib., King of Prussia, PA Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.
This item was reviewed in:
Publishers Weekly, February 2000
Booklist, March 2000
Kirkus Reviews, March 2000
Library Journal, March 2000
Wall Street Journal, March 2000
Chicago Tribune, April 2000
Los Angeles Times, April 2000
New York Times Book Review, April 2000
Washington Post, April 2000
San Francisco Chronicle, May 2000
Globe & Mail, June 2000
New York Times Book Review, December 2000
Washington Post, April 2001
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