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'Dead Hand' Re-Examines The Cold War Arms Race

Oct 8, 2009 (Fresh Air)

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Journalist David E. Hoffman revisits the high stakes maneuvering of the Cold War arms race and details the inner-workings of the Soviet nuclear program in his new book The Dead Hand. The book takes its title the Russian automatic retaliatory system of the same name, which was designed to launch all of the country's nuclear missiles should it suffer a "decapitating attack" from the United States.

Hoffman, a Washington Post contributing editor, spent six years as the paper's Moscow bureau chief. While researching the book, he enjoyed unprecedented access to secret Kremlin documents, which helped him describe the urgent search for the nuclear and biological hazards left behind after the collapse of the Soviet Union. He is also the author of The Oligarchs: Wealth and Power in the New Russia.

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