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Publisher's Summary

A riveting, real-life thriller about 1983 - the year tensions between the United States and the Soviet Union nearly brought the world to the point of nuclear Armageddon

The year 1983 was an extremely dangerous one - more dangerous than 1962, the year of the Cuban Missile Crisis. In the United States, President Reagan vastly increased defense spending, described the Soviet Union as an "evil empire," and launched the "Star Wars" Strategic Defense Initiative to shield the country from incoming missiles. Seeing all this, Yuri Andropov, the paranoid Soviet leader, became convinced that the US really meant to attack the Soviet Union and he put the KGB on high alert, looking for signs of an imminent nuclear attack.  

When a Soviet plane shot down a Korean civilian jet, Reagan described it as "a crime against humanity." And Moscow grew increasingly concerned about America's language and behavior. Would they attack? The temperature rose fast. In November, the West launched a war-game exercise, code named "Abel Archer," that looked to the Soviets like the real thing. With Andropov's finger inching ever closer to the nuclear button, the world was truly on the brink.  

This is an extraordinary and largely unknown Cold War story of spies and double agents, of missiles being readied, intelligence failures, misunderstandings, and the panic of world leaders. With access to hundreds of astonishing new documents, Taylor Downing tells for the first time the gripping but true story of how close the world came to nuclear war in 1983.  

©2018 Taylor Downing (P)2018 Hachette Audio

Critic Reviews

"A gripping and frankly terrifying book on the US-Soviet nuclear confrontation" (Tom Holland, award-winning author of Rubicon and Dynasty)

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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Ed
  • 16-08-2018

Great book - horrible narration

Fantastic historical account of how close we came to the nuclear abyss in 1983. Directly relevant to understanding Russia today and the perils of our collapsing global order. Degraded by horrendously bad narration by a British performer. If your involved in national security or study history, buy the hard copy.

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  • jbfuller317
  • 13-08-2018

An article or a book

The author doesn’t have enough material for a book length treatment of Able Archer. Too bad. So we are treated to superficial chapters on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the Gorbachev era, and other material at the level of a high school text book. The narrator’s American accident is ludicrous and grating. Think of someone trying to do and comical imitation of an incompetent mimic imitation Bill Casey.

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  • Scott Green
  • 22-07-2018

Worth any narration problems

I was almost scared off the book by the complaints about the performance of the narrator. Glad I wasn’t. I could understand the words when they were pronounced oddly or incorrectly. The book is fascinating. A lot of information I never knew. The info about the spies was worth the price of admission.

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    2 out of 5 stars
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  • J. M. Santo
  • 11-06-2018

Terrible

Just terrible. Boring. Read with zero emotion. I really wanted to enjoy this book after reading the review.

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • JMB
  • 16-05-2018

Interesting book... Distracting Narration

While along the lines of 'Deadhand', '1983' is a good read... however, as has been mentioned before, the narration - especially the bad American accent - is a distraction and, for me, made it tough to get through. I did enjoy the book, though.

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  • drb burd
  • 19-06-2018

Great book, don't try accents

The book itself was fascinating.

The reader tried American accents and failed. Ronald Reagan isn't from Boston.


0 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • bob
  • 08-06-2018

Close call in the cold war

Amazing story, well researched and well told. I didn't know a lot more than I realized.

0 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • A. Curtis
  • 10-08-2018

Well written Cold War Account

Really enjoyed this book. Well written and read. A massive time of tension and ill informed mistakes in such a scary time. I know some people hate the Reagan accent but I know what he sounds like and my brain fills in the blanks! Really interesting and well worth a listen.