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Fiery Peace In A Cold War, A : Vintage - Neil Sheehan

Fiery Peace In A Cold War, A


Paperback Published: 5th October 2010
ISBN: 9780679745495
Number Of Pages: 534

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From Neil Sheehan, author of the Pulitzer Prize--winning classic A Bright Shining Lie, comes this long-awaited, magnificent epic. Here is the never-before-told story of the nuclear arms race that changed history-and of the visionary American Air Force officer Bernard Schriever, who led the high-stakes effort. A Fiery Peace in a Cold War is a masterly work about Schriever's quests to prevent the Soviet Union from acquiring nuclear superiority, to penetrate and exploit space for America, and to build the first weapons meant to deter an atomic holocaust rather than to be fired in anger.
Sheehan melds biography and history, politics and science, to create a sweeping narrative that transports the reader back and forth from individual drama to world stage. The narrative takes us from Schriever's boyhood in Texas as a six-year-old immigrant from Germany in 1917 through his apprenticeship in the open-cockpit biplanes of the Army Air Corps in the 1930s and his participation in battles against the Japanese in the South Pacific during the Second World War. On his return, he finds a new postwar bipolar universe dominated by the antagonism between the United States and the Soviet Union.
Inspired by his technological vision, Schriever sets out in 1954 to create the one class of weapons that can enforce peace with the Russians-intercontinental ballistic missiles that are unstoppable and can destroy the Soviet Union in thirty minutes. In the course of his crusade, he encounters allies and enemies among some of the most intriguing figures of the century: John von Neumann, the Hungarian-born mathematician and mathematical physicist, who was second in genius only to Einstein; Colonel Edward Hall, who created the ultimate ICBM in the Minuteman missile, and his brother, Theodore Hall, who spied for the Russians at Los Alamos and hastened their acquisition of the atomic bomb; Curtis LeMay, the bomber general who tried to exile Schriever and who lost his grip on reality, amassing enough nuclear weapons in his Strategic Air Command to destroy the entire Northern Hemisphere; and Hitler's former rocket maker, Wernher von Braun, who along with a colorful, riding-crop-wielding Army general named John Medaris tried to steal the ICBM program.
The most powerful men on earth are also put into astonishing relief: Joseph Stalin, the cruel, paranoid Soviet dictator who spurred his own scientists to build him the atomic bomb with threats of death; Dwight Eisenhower, who backed the ICBM program just in time to save it from the bureaucrats; Nikita Khrushchev, who brought the world to the edge of nuclear catastrophe during the Cuban Missile Crisis, and John Kennedy, who saved it.
Schriever and his comrades endured the heartbreak of watching missiles explode on the launching pads at Cape Canaveral and savored the triumph of seeing them soar into space. In the end, they accomplished more than achieving a fiery peace in a cold war. Their missiles became the vehicles that opened space for America.

"From the Hardcover edition."

Industry Reviews

"Excellent. . . . Deeply researched, compulsively readable and important."
--The New York Times Book Review

"An important contribution to our understanding of those decades when the U.S. and U.S.S.R. held each other--and the world--in a balance of terror. . . . Engrossing."
--Los Angeles Times

"Utterly riveting reading. . . . Schriever is a fascinating person, and Sheehan [is] to be commended for his careful gathering of interviews and documents to put flesh on this most unexpected warrior."
--San Francisco Chronicle

"Even more thoroughly researched, bristling with facts and figures and faces, than A Bright Shining Lie."
--San Antonio Express-News

"A deep look at American defensive thinking in the Cold War. . . . Sheehan's book is rich in cultural detail, beyond iconic moments of the Cold War as refracted through the lens of the missile race."

"An ambitious story. Sheehan tells it well."
--Dallas Morning News

"Absorbing. . . . Sheehan is a terrific reporter and an excellent writer, capable of weaving multiple storylines into a seamless narrative. . . . Unforgettable. . . . More than a worthy successor to A Bright Shining Light. . . . It is hard to imagine a more accomplished and informative expos of the deep gears grinding in the engine room of the Cold War."
--The Oregonian

"A success story, in which the military, or a part of it anyway, instead of becoming mired in a folly of its own creation, prevailed over bureaucracy and incompetence and probably averted catastrophe."
--The New York Times

"Fascinating. . . . Sheehan's scope is vast, and the narrative proceeds with the measured beauty of a complex mathematical proof."

"Neil Sheehan is a master of historical portraiture. His new book casts light on a critical but largely forgotten moment of the Cold War, with all the dazzling research and authority we have come to expect from him. Sheehan tells a fascinating story wonderfully vividly."
--Sir Max Hastings

"Schriever is a charismatic figure, and the supporting characters are fascinating, too."
--The New Yorker

"Schriever's part in the development of the ICBM is a story that needed to be told . . . and Sheehan tells it with enthusiasm."
--The Boston Globe

"Here, masterfully recounted, is the epic tale of the decisive scientific battle of the Cold War--for supremacy of the skies and space--told through the remarkable story of Air Force general Bennie Schriever. Once again, the legendary reporter Neil Sheehan has unearthed a hidden trove of the history of our time. . . . A stunning achievement."
--Carl Bernstein

"Sheehan does an excellent job of describing, in terms that a layman can follow, the technical challenges involved in developing an ICBM and how they were overcome."
--Michael Dobbs, The Washington Post

"A fascinating tale."
--The Times-Picayune (New Orleans)

"Neil Sheehan has triumphed again in this sweeping and absolutely fascinating book. . . . Sheehan takes on the epic tale of how science, the military, and politics became interwoven during the Cold War. It's a crucially important topic, but also a colorful narrative tale filled with memorable characters such as Bennie Schriever and the geniuses he enlisted in his cause."
--Walter Isaacson

"A story of many characters, and some of the major ones, such as mathematician John von Neumann and Gen. Curtis LeMay, are very colorful. . . . There is much to like in this book. . . . Sheehan's book helps make sense of things we know."
--Seattle Times

"In this amazing book, Neil Sheehan shows us how the grand movements of history turn on the character of individuals. A Fiery Peace in a Cold War is the gripping account of the events, largely hidden until now, that saved the Cold War from turning into Armageddon."
--Anthony Lewis

Forewordp. IX
Prologue: A Rite of Successionp. xv
Becoming an Americanp. 1
Ellis Island and a Tragedy in Texasp. 3
A Benefactor and the House on the Twelfth Greenp. 6
The Virtues of Golfp. 9
White Silk Scarves and Open Cockpitsp. 13
Entering the Brotherhoodp. 16
A Fiasco and Reformp. 19
Staying the Coursep. 24
A Fork in the Roadp. 28
"Let's Dive-Bomb the Bastards"p. 31
The Test of Warp. 40
Inheriting a Different Worldp. 49
Atomic Diplomacyp. 51
Spies Inside the Barbed Wirep. 54
"The Balance has Been Destroyed"p. 66
The State that was Stalinp. 69
A Confrontation and a Misreadingp. 77
Containing the Menacep. 87
Neither Rain, Nor Snow, Nor Sleet, Nor Fogp. 94
Stalin Gets His Bombp. 99
The Consequences of Delusionp. 104
Good Intentions Gone Awryp. 108
The Perils of an Apprenticeshipp. 115
Hap Arnold's Legacyp. 117
Getting Organizedp. 124
Bomber Leaderp. 130
Into the Lion's Denp. 142
Moscow Opts for Rocketsp. 152
A Nuclear Reactor in the Skyp. 156
Low-Level Tactics and the Flying Boomp. 160
The Last Tangle and an Ambushp. 166
Starting a Racep. 175
Seeking Scientific Validationp. 177
When Hungary Was Marsp. 181
A Fascination with Explosionsp. 188
Finding an Allyp. 194
Marshaling the Expertisep. 200
The Tea Pot Committeep. 207
Getting Startedp. 220
"Okay, Bennie, It's a Deal"p. 225
Winning a Presidentp. 229
A Schoolhouse and a Radical New Approachp. 231
The Guru of Rocketsp. 235
A Problem with Tommy Powerp. 249
How Greed Corruptsp. 253
An Assault from an Unexpected Quarterp. 261
A Sense of Adventurep. 265
No Time for Familyp. 267
Getting to Ikep. 268
A Difficult Dialogue at Genevap. 279
Dazzling the Monarchp. 287
No More Nitpickingp. 300
A Rader in Turkeyp. 302
Building the Unstoppablep. 313
A Competitorp. 315
The Team of Mettler and Thielp. 318
John Bruce Medaris and Wernher von Braunp. 324
The Cape of the Canebrake vs. "Mosse" Mathisonp. 331
A Few Grains of Sandp. 338
Medaris Goes for the ICBMp. 343
The Reluctant Rescuerp. 350
Thor vs. Jupiterp. 358
Sputnikp. 361
Thor Readies for Englandp. 367
Jamie Wallace's Thor Showp. 371
The Biggest Airlift Since Berlinp. 377
"Roy...I Want you to Get Me Camp Cooke"p. 380
A Tiep. 387
Black Saturdayp. 390
The Trials of Atlas and a Christmas Surprisep. 396
Whose Missile Gap?p. 403
A Victory Despite the Bugsp. 406
Minuteman: Ed Hall's Triumphp. 409
"You Couldn't Keep him in that Job"p. 416
A Spy in Orbit and a Game of Nuclear Dicep. 421
A Would-Be Spy in the Sky Goes Awryp. 423
Mathison Snatches the Prizep. 430
Discoverer Goes "Black" into Coronap. 434
A Harebrained Schemep. 437
Palm Tree Disguisesp. 440
Keeping the Military on the Leashp. 442
"Use 'Em or Lose 'Em"p. 445
LeMay and Tommy Power as the Wild Cardsp. 447
Avoiding Götterdämmerungp. 449
Buying Time for the Empire to Implodep. 452
Epilogue The Schriever Luckp. 459
Johnny von Neumann Finds Faith but not Peacep. 461
"The Slowest Old Trev has Ever Gone in a Cadillac"p. 464
Losing it all and Forgiving a Brotherp. 467
"Only in America"p. 470
A Reunion with Happ. 475
Acknowledgmentsp. 481
Interviewsp. 485
Source Notesp. 489
Bibliographyp. 501
Indexp. 511
Table of Contents provided by Ingram. All Rights Reserved.

ISBN: 9780679745495
ISBN-10: 0679745491
Series: Vintage
Audience: General
Format: Paperback
Language: English
Number Of Pages: 534
Published: 5th October 2010
Publisher: Random House USA Inc
Country of Publication: US
Dimensions (cm): 20.5 x 13.3  x 2.8
Weight (kg): 0.55
Edition Number: 1

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