The Hoover Institution Press released A Memoir of the Missile Age: One Man’s Journey, a firsthand account of the emerging nuclear arms race between the Soviet Union and the United States. Drawing on a collection of documents, records and correspondence housed at the Hoover Institution Library & Archives, author Vitaly Katayev chronicles his time at the Soviet Union’s Defense Industry Department during the Cold War. The reflections in his memoir offer a unique perspective into the Soviet military-industrial complex.
“Vitaly Katayev played an important role in the Soviet Union’s nuclear missile program. He started as a rocket designer, ending up engaged at the highest policy levels through the end of the Cold War,” said Hoover Institution Senior Fellow Sidney Drell. “His fascinating memoir provides very important insights into how the Soviet Military Industrial Complex, as distinct from the military itself, made the important decisions, often on the basis of incorrect knowledge and assumptions about what the United States was doing,”
Vitaly Katayev had a front row seat to history as a vital player of the nuclear arms race during the Cold War, first as an engineer and later as deputy head of the President's Advisory Office. During his tenure in the Soviet government, Katayev kept thorough documentation of Soviet dealings, retaining reports, memos, diaries, notes, and sound recordings related to Soviet military policy, nuclear weapons and arms negotiations. In 2001, the Hoover Library & Archives acquired these materials, cataloguing them and preserving their place in history. The preservation of these documents has enabled the author to give an authentic account of his experiences and in his own words describe the intricate depths of Cold War from the Soviet perspective. This memoir gives us a new understanding of the nuclear age.
“This deeply personal memoir of a leading Soviet defense and arms control official also provides a rare insightful analysis of the inner workings of the Soviet system. . . . [T]his book is indispensable reading for Cold War scholars and an invaluable source for anybody trying to understand the role of the Soviet military-industrial complex,” said Svetlana Savranskaya, Director of Russia Programs at the National Security Archive.
Founded by Herbert Hoover in 1919, the Hoover Institution Library & Archives are dedicated to documenting war, revolution, and peace in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. With nearly one million volumes and more than six thousand archival collections from 171 countries, Hoover supports a vibrant community of scholars and a broad public interested in the meaning and role of history. For more information on the Hoover Institution Library & Archives, visit http://www.hoover.org/library-archives.
Vitaly Katayev joined the Defense Industry Department of the Central Committee of the Communist Party in 1975, after fifteen years as a designer in the defense industry, ultimately rising to deputy head of defense and security under Gorbachev and serving until the department was disbanded in 1993.
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About the Hoover Institution: The Hoover Institution, Stanford University, is a public policy research center devoted to the advanced study of economics, politics, history, and political economy—both domestic and foreign—as well as international affairs. With its eminent scholars and world-renowned Library & Archives, the Hoover Institution seeks to improve the human condition by advancing ideas that promote economic opportunity and prosperity, and secure and safeguard peace for America and all mankind.
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