In Ronald Reagan: Decisions of Greatness, Martin and Annelise Anderson shed light on Reagan’s efforts to ensure a world free from nuclear weapons

Tuesday, February 3, 2015
Stanford
Ronald Reagan: Decisions of Greatness, the latest work of Martin and Annelise Anderson

"A great deal of fresh and important material"  — George P. Shultz

"A masterful account of President Reagan's greatest achievement" — Lou Cannon

The Hoover Institution Press today released Ronald Reagan: Decisions of Greatness, the latest work of Martin and Annelise Anderson. This book offers new perspectives on one of President Ronald Reagan’s greatest accomplishments: persuading the Soviets to reduce their nuclear arsenals and end the Cold War.

Ronald Reagan: Decisions of Greatness, the latest work of Martin and Annelise Anderson
Ronald Reagan: Decisions of Greatness, the latest work of Martin and Annelise Anderson.

Ronald Reagan had the insight to put in place a sound Cold War strategy in his first year in office from which he did not waver.  The strategy was to make it clear to the Soviets that they too would be destroyed in a nuclear war. Meanwhile Reagan sought an alternative: to eventually make nuclear missiles obsolete through strategic defense and thus, ultimately, eliminate the possibility of all-out nuclear war. 

“What people don’t realize is that, while the country was concentrating on reviving the US economy, Reagan was taking steps behind the scenes to strengthen US military morale, manpower, training, and equipment to make it possible to convince the Soviets that they could not win a nuclear war,” stated Hoover Institution fellow  Annelise Anderson.

The authors examine Reagan’s decisions during his presidency that made his success possible and review Reagan's critical negotiations with Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev, concluding with the 1988 Moscow summit that effectively marked the end of the Cold War. They present Gorbachev’s thoughts on Reagan as a great man and a great president twenty years after he had left office.  Ultimately, they reveal the depth of Reagan’s vision of a world safe from nuclear weapons, painting a clear portrait of a Cold Warrior who saw the possibility of moving beyond that war.

“This book is a masterful account of President Reagan’s most significant achievement: eliminating the threat of a nuclear war between the Soviet Union and the United States that would have destroyed civilization as we know it.  This was accomplished in the face of a buildup in Soviet nuclear missiles that reached its apogee in 1985, the year that Mikhail Gorbachev came to power.  The Andersons demonstrate how Reagan launched a U.S. buildup to counter the Soviet threat, proposed a missile defense and ultimately negotiated with Gorbachev to insure, as Reagan put it, that ‘a nuclear war can never be won and must never be fought’,” stated Lou Cannon, White House correspondent for the Washington Post during the Reagan administration and author of Ronald Reagan: The Role of a Lifetime.

Martin Anderson, an accomplished academic and dedicated public servant, died in January of this year; this book is his final contribution in a long and distinguished career.  He was a close adviser to President Nixon on moving to an all-volunteer armed force and to President Reagan on his economic program. He wrote a number of books about public policy.  He also coedited several collections of Reagan's own writings, establishing President Reagan as a thinker and strategist.  As John Raisian, director of the Hoover Institution stated: “Martin and Annelise’s contributions will stand as an important, long-standing contribution to this important time in our nation’s history.”

AUTHORS: Martin Anderson (August 5, 1936–January 3, 2015) and Annelise Anderson are recognized experts on the writing and speeches of Ronald Reagan.  They have written several best-selling books highlighting the thousands of handwritten radio commentaries, letters, speeches, and notes that document Reagan's personal and professional journey in his own words.  Their most recent book is Reagan's Secret War: The Untold Story of His Fight to Save the World from Nuclear Disaster.

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.

CONTACT INFORMATION:  Jenny Mayfield, Director of Media Relations | Office of Public Affairs| jennymayfield [at] stanford.edu | 650-723-0603