Michael Burleigh

Apocalypse Nearly

1983: The World at the Brink


Little, Brown 391pp £20 order from our bookshop

The veteran television producer Taylor Downing is best known for his work on Jeremy Isaacs’s 1998 CNN series about the Cold War. His new book revisits what Ronald Reagan called the ‘really scary’ events of late 1983, when the two superpowers came closer to nuclear war than at any time since the Cuban Missile Crisis two decades before. Downing uses some of the interview material left over from a documentary he made in 2007 on this later crisis, combining this with published memoirs, a sprinkling of academic secondary literature, and documents from US government agencies found by assiduous scholars at the National Security Archive in Washington.

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