The Reagan Files: Inside the National Security Council (2nd) (2014)
The reviews are coming in! Here are few of the latest for the second edition of “The Reagan Files: Inside the National Security Council”.
Dear Mr. President: Reagan/Gorbachev and the Correspondence that Ended the Cold War (2013)
Independent historian Saltoun-Ebin delivers a timely compilation of more than 30 letters between Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev and President Ronald Reagan.
In this debut collection, the author provides explanation and background for each letter’s origins and slowly reveals the nature of Gorbachev and Reagan’s relationship. Saltoun-Ebin notes that important events leading to the end of the Cold War might not have taken place “without the trust each leader gained in the other through their private correspondence.” He begins the collection with Reagan’s incredibly hopeful first letter in March 1985, but the relationship between the two leaders would later unravel,and not all the correspondence that follows is as optimistic. Regarding the United States’ actions in Nicaragua, Gorbachev wrote in December 1985: “I will be frank: what the United States has done recently causes concern. It seems there is a tilt in the direction of further exacerbation of regional problems.” The letters show the leaders’ disagreements but also their important attempts toward diplomacy. The collection not only includes formal correspondence, but also Reagan’s handwritten notes, which give readers a deeper look at his personality and his motives. With this collection, readers get the unusual opportunity to examine two extremely different individuals: a patriotic president and a communist leader, each of whom staunchly disagreed with many of the core values advocated by their counterpart’s nation. Taken alone, the letters might be extremely difficult to decipher, but Saltoun-Ebin helps the reader along the way with detailed explanations of the context behind Reagan and Gorbachev’s interactions. His language is clear, polished and astute throughout.
An insightful collection of curated letters between two leaders that made history.
THE REAGAN FILES
Inside the National Security Council (2012)
Idealism, realpolitik and contentious personalities clash in this second installment of the author’s illuminating documentary history of the 40th president’s controversial foreign policy.
In this volume, historian Saltoun-Ebin (The Reagan Files, Vol. 1, 2010) presents recently declassified minutes and transcripts from Ronald Reagan’s National Security Council meetings, along with transcripts of summit conversations between Reagan and Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev and related speeches, letters and press releases. Two great issues dominate the record. The first is the rivalry with the Soviet Union, stretching from efforts early in Reagan’s term to enforce economic sanctions and respond to communist Poland’s crackdown on Solidarity to later preoccupations with nuclear arms control agreements. The second is Central America policy, as the administration manages the counterinsurgency war in El Salvador and obsesses over the perceived threat from Cuba and Nicaragua; attempts to get around push back from a skeptical Congress eventually move the administration down the path toward the Iran-Contra scandal. Saltoun-Ebin’s adroit editing and useful background notes make the record of policy debates—pitting prickly hawks like Jeanne Kirkpatrick and Caspar Weinberger against wilier voices like Alexander Haig and George Shultz—both lucid and absorbing; there are even moments of high geopolitical drama when Reagan and Gorbachev’s tense one-on-one wranglings at the Reykjavik summit suddenly give way to breakthrough nuclear compromises. We get an insider’s view of a Reagan administration that’s savvy, calculating and realistic as it crafts covert operations, strategic leaks, publicity campaigns and international arm-twistings, but also prone to ideological fervors and bunker mentalities. (“There is nothing worse than being defeated by this man,” Reagan seethes during the brewing feud with Panamanian pipsqueak Manuel Noriega.) The proceedings reveal just how deep a stamp Reagan, whose statements the author helpfully formats in bold face, put on his foreign policy, particularly with his Strategic Defense Initiative; this radically idealistic departure from coldblooded strategic orthodoxy drove the eternally suspicious Gorbachev (and Reagan’s own advisers) to distraction—and yet it came to dominate, and almost derail, America’s arms control efforts. Researchers will find in these documents a valuable scholarly resource that exposes the human dimension of Cold War policymaking.
A treasure-chest of significant papers that shed light on an important era.
"The Reagan Files" by Jason Saltoun-Ebin unearths newly declassified documents that trace president's communications with Soviet leaders
LOS ANGELES (MMD Newswire) November 3, 2010 -- President Ronald Reagan's name is often invoked by modern politicians who celebrate the Gipper's commitment to conservative values and foreign affairs. "The Reagan Files: The Untold Story of Reagan's Top-Secret Efforts to Win the Cold War" by Jason Saltoun-Ebin (ISBN 1453633057), gives readers an unprecedented look at how the nation's 40th president worked to win the war that divided the world's two most powerful nations.
Drawing on formerly top secret National Security Council meeting minutes and private letters between President Reagan and Soviet leaders, Saltoun-Ebin takes readers inside the White House Situation Room to see what it was like to be side-by-side with Reagan while he made decisions that would end the Cold War and shape the 21st Century. The book reveals President Reagan's leadership skills, political judgment and intellectual prowess during his presidency in the 1980s.
"It immediately occurred to me that these were the most important documents to have ever been released at the Reagan Library," Saltoun-Ebin said. "Finding what Reagan said and thought proved to be extremely difficult, and these documents contained Reagan's uncensored thoughts on all areas of foreign policy.”
"The Reagan Files: The Untold Story of Reagan's Top-Secret Efforts to Win the Cold War" is available for sale online at Amazon.com and other channels.