Planning Reagan's War: Conservative Strategists and America's Cold War Victory
by Francis H. Marlo (Potomac Books: 2012)
A must read for any serious student of the Reagan administration!
Dr. Marlo's first book is an important contribution to scholarship on the Reagan administration for two very important reasons. First, his use of the holdings of the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library, in particular the files of the National Security Council, led him to conclude that President Reagan personally developed a "Grand Strategy" to defeat the Soviet Union. Based on these NSC documents, Marlo identifies five parts to Reagan's strategy: (1) rejection of containment and detente; (2) importance of communist ideology; (3) centrality of superior power in dealing with the Soviet threat; (4) the importance of Soviet weakness; and (5) the superiority of democracy and capitalism. Although historians and journalists writing about the Reagan administration have come to many of these same conclusions, Marlo is one of the first to have based these conclusions on the holdings of the Reagan Library, thus verifying what many have argued before anyone had access to the holdings of the Reagan Library.
Second, Marlo brings to his study his background in strategic studies as well as his graduate training at the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy. His background gives him the tools to successfully blend the fields of history, political science and strategic studies. The result is an analytical narrative that helps to explain not only the foriegn policy of the Reagan administration, but every administration since Reagan left office.