One needs to have a strong interest in history, Reagan, the Cold War, or all of the above to really enjoy this book--fortunately, I do.
We live in a very unique part of history because of the fall of the Soviet Union and the release of it's client states has allowed those that are interested in truth vs ideology to get access to to the files of the once evil empire and to find out the facts behind the myth that the media and the Democrats often spew about the fall of communism. The simple version of that myth is: "Everyone knew that communism was failing, Reagan probably slowed the final demise by his bellicose rhetoric and huge arms buildup".
Like most of what you hear from the MSM or their friends the Democrats, it is verifiably false, and this book points to a good deal of that verification.
The book is chocked full of quotes from the left on the validity of the communist approach, constant derision of the "simple mindedness" of Reagan's concept that we could "win the Cold War", along with Reagan's quotes plus inside documentation from the USSR of how they played those attempting "detente" for suckers and used the opening to blow open the arms race in their favor, build huge underground facilites so their elite could survive a nuclear conflagration and the story of how they used the Carter years in particular to advance in Nicaragua, Grenada and a number of African countries before they moved into Afghanistan, and Carter, finally, got at least slightly wise. Again, all backed up with quotes from the archives of the USSR, Poland, East Germany and others.
In case anyone wants to claim that "they were trying to help their people, they just had bad luck -- or were hampered by the west, or excuse # 10,000 ---Walter Ulbricht, head of East Germany in the 1960's secretly wrote to Khrushchev in the early '60s:
"The experience of the last years have proven that it is not possible for a socialist country, such as the GDR to cary out peaceful competition with an imperialist country such as West Germany with open borders".One might think that Obama, Pelosi and others would find that quote worth a read! The point in this book however is that Reagan had figured the same thing out and was saying it from podiums around the nation -- and being called "old fashioned and simple minded" for doing so, while the elite behind the Iron Curtain KNEW that they were damaging their people by their system, but flat out didn't care!
There are a series of quotes relative to Reagan's "evil empire speech", for example, Anthony Lewis of the NYTimes said it was "simplistic and sectarian", but it is now documented that the folks in the gulag and in Solidarity and other similar group eventually found out about it and found it to be a gigantic source of strength -- an American president was FINALLY on their side!
One of the most effective weapons he enabled was a huge improvement in the Voice of America in technology, programming and broadcast power. As Reagan said: "The truth is mankind's best hope for a better world, that's why in times like these, few assets are more important than The Voice of America and Radio Liberty". The Carter administration had allowed VoA to be used on occasion to broadcast SOVIET messages as an example of "good will". Imagine yourself trapped behind the Iron Curtain and hearing the radio station financed by the only reasonable adversary to your captors allowing YOUR CAPTORS to broadcast their propaganda -- as if you don't already hear enough of that!
Here is Andropov from the archives:
"The 1970's were the years of further growth of power and influence in the socialist commonwealth. We were able to achieve the military pairity with the West. This gave us an opportunity to deal with them on an equal basis. Our dynamic policy of detente led to substantial positive shifts in international relations."Our enemy loved detente! But they HATED Reagan -- almost as much as the American media and the Democrats! In 1980, Carter himself sent Armand Hammer to the Soviet Embassy to offer assistance to the USSR if they could help his election prospects through the release of political prisoners or ams concessions. They considered the offer, but had hopes that Reagan would turn out to be like Nixon -- willing to bluster to gain support with the hawks, but anxious to find agreement to gain votes for that second term. It was a miscalculation that thankfully turned out to be fatal.
Those of us of my age had the wonderful privilege of living through a moment in history that our teachers, media elite and government had assured us would never happen. In fact, we had been raised to believe that socialism and communism were certainly very valid approaches to government, and it was highly questionable if Democracy and Capitalism were actually superior! I'll close with the words of Reagan, given to the Soviet elite students in Moscow on his final visit there:
"Even as we explore the the most advanced reaches of science, we are returning to age-old wisdom of our culture, a wisdom contained in the Book of Genesis in the Bible. In the beginning was the spirit, and it wa from this spirit that the material abundance of creation issued forth. But progress is not foreordained. The key is freedom--freedom of thought, freedom of information, freedom of communication".There will never be another Reagan, but Lord, PLEASE send us the best available SOON!