Book Discussion on The Dead Hand
Oct 19, 2009
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David Hoffman talked about his book The Dead Hand: The Untold Story of the Cold War Arms Race and Its Dangerous Legacy
(Doubleday; September 22, 2009). In his book David Hoffman, former Moscow bureau chief for the .. Read More
David Hoffman talked about his book The Dead Hand: The Untold Story of the Cold War Arms Race and Its Dangerous Legacy (Doubleday; September 22, 2009). In his book David Hoffman, former Moscow bureau chief for the Washington Post, recounts the final decade of the Cold War and the nuclear and biological munitions that remained following the collapse of the Soviet Union. With new information culled largely from the author’s discovery of the papers of Vitaly Leonidivich Katayev, a staff member of the Central Committee who had a “front row seat” in all arms race-related discussions, Mr. Hoffman showed the disparity between the American perspective and Russian reality. In his presentation Mr. Hoffman focused on Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev’s disinterest in creating a Stars Wars program that would rival President Reagan’s, the Soviet Union’s foray into biological warfare, and the ‘Dead Hand’ program that would automatically respond to a nuclear strike regardless of whether any Soviet leaders were alive to command it. He responded to questions from members of the audience.
This noon book discussion was co-sponsored by the Cold War International History Project and the Kennan Institute at the Woodrow Wilson Center in Washington, D.C. on October 19, 2009.
David Hoffman is a contributing editor at the Washington Post where he was formerly a White House correspondent and Moscow bureau chief. He is the author of The Oligarchs: Wealth and Power in the New Russia.