The Nonproliferation Review will be publishing my book review of Ken Adelman’s Reagan at Reykjavik: Forty-Eight Hours that Ended the Cold War. (Where would we be without publishing license and hyperbolic subtitles?) In the meantime, here are some quotes from the book, which tells a story that is endlessly fascinating:

“Reykjavik changed each man, changed their relationship and thus that of the superpowers.”

“SDI was little more than pie in the colorful sky of Ronald Reagan’s imagination.”

Reagan to Gorbachev from verbatim notes: “[SDI] is exactly the same with offensive strategic weapons. We need a gas mask here.”

“Reagan knew enough about arms control to make his arguments adeptly.”

“Each [Reagan and Gorbachev] was genuinely dumbfounded by what the other believed.”

“Although Reagan was always clear in his views and intentions, he was seldom clear in his instructions. Just as Horace Walpole once said of Prime Minister William Pitt, Reagan kept aloof from all details, drew magnificent plans, and left others to find magnificent means.”

“Iran-Contra showed Reagan at his worst – all instinct with little thinking; all improv with little formal decision making; all emotion with little logic.”

“SDI never worked as Reagan wished. It worked better.”

“Gorbachev wanted to reform the Soviet Union in the worst way possible. And that’s pretty much how he did it.”

“We know the things Reagan did but do not know how he was able to do them.”

And back to that subtitle: “Reykjavik alone did not end the Cold War. Only the uninformed and or the sensationalistic could claim that it did.”