At the Abyss, by Thomas C. Reed Presidio Press, $14.95
Is the Cold War over? Former Air Force Secretary Thomas C. Reed, who was a special assistant to Ronald Reagan for National Security Policy and a consultant to the director of Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, says the answer depends on how you define your terms. If you mean a nuclear war between the United States and Russia, then yes -- thanks largely, he asserts, to Reagan. If you mean the threat of nuclear terror within the next ten to twenty years, then the answer is quite possibly no. Reed's memoir At the Abyss is an insider's view of the conflict, complete with dirt on spies, the death of Josef Stalin, and White House intrigue. Reed had a rare inside line on the whole Reagan clan, which he describes as "dysfunctional." And while he describes the late president as kind, earnest, and brave, he also presents an unusual glimpse of a world leader who had no real friends and no one in whom to confide. Nancy was a lot of things to him, we learn, but not someone with whom to have a real heart-to-heart.