Academic journal article Naval War College Review

The Triumph of Improvisation: Gorbachev's Adaptability, Reagan's Engagement, and the End of the Cold War

Academic journal article Naval War College Review

The Triumph of Improvisation: Gorbachev's Adaptability, Reagan's Engagement, and the End of the Cold War

Article excerpt

Wilson, James Graham. The Triumph of Improvi- sation: Gorbachev's Adaptability, Reagan's Engage- ment, and the End of the Cold War. Ithaca, N.Y.: Cornell Univ. Press. 264pp. $29.95

This is an interesting and innovative look at the course of the Cold War. It is interesting in large part because Wilson's perspective is to look for the unscripted moments in the course of the conflict- the occasions when grand strategy, even policy, did not dictate outcomes. To a political scientist, this is a refreshing ap- proach. Political scientists and historians often focus too heavily on patterns, the- ories, and grand schemes. This volume is a reminder of the crucial role played by policy makers struggling to make up their minds at critical junctures.

Wilson's book is well informed, look- ing for moments when leaders took the initiative, such as when President Reagan sensed a crisis in Poland in 1981. This work struck this nonspecial- ist as well documented and particu- larly well researched on the American side. One might expect that of Wilson, who served as a historian for the U.S. State Department. Deliberations over nuclear-arms limitations talks receive a great deal of Wilson's attention, as one might expect, and his discussion of the development of the Strategic Defense Initiative is particularly engaging.

However, prospective readers might be warned that this book would probably not make good introductory reading to the Cold War. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.