IRON DESTINIES, LOST OPPORTUNITIES: The Arms Race Between The U.S.A. and the U.S.S.R., 1945-1987 by Charles R. Morris

IRON DESTINIES, LOST OPPORTUNITIES: The Arms Race Between The U.S.A. and the U.S.S.R., 1945-1987

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KIRKUS REVIEW

The crepuscular annals of the arms race become compelling narrative in this succinct study of the Forty Years War--the militarized agon between the US and the Soviet Union. Morris, author of A Time of Passion (1984) and The Cost of Good Intentions (1980), here crafts a popular history that looks to debunk the notion of stable deterrence. Arguing that the arms race is ""fundamentally a political problem,"" Morris writes that ""within its own terms of reference, the arms race can neither be ended nor reach a point of enduring stability."" Morris traces the quixotic quest for military advantage from Yalta to Reykjavik, and concludes that ""since the war, neither superpower has shown itself capable of sustaining a creative, constructive, relation-building statecraft with the other."" Instead, this history has been punctuated by a number of ""lost opportunities"" to address the overriding political questions. In a chapter entitled ""The Failure of Dwight Eisenhower,"" Morris argues that Khrushchev ""badly wanted and needed a settlement with the West."" Morris writes easily and well, and his narrative, based on a copious reading of the secondary literature, is a model of brevity and savvy. Indeed, skillfully delineating the major technological, diplomatic, and politico-military departures of the past 40 years, Morris is able to provide the general reader with sound insight into the dead-end nature of the arms race.

Pub Date: May 11th, 1988
Publisher: Harper & Row