A Covert Action: Reagan, the Cia, and the Cold War Struggle in Poland

Norton. Jul. 2018. 320p. illus. maps. notes. index. ISBN 9780393247008. $27.95; ebk. ISBN 9780393247015. HIST
In 2007, former first lady Nancy Reagan accepted the Order of the White Eagle from the Polish government posthumously for her husband. Ronald Reagan appropriated the terms Starwars (Strategic Missile Defense) and Evil Empire (Soviet Union) to bolster his psychological and material support of Polish politician Lech Walesa and the Polish Solidarity movement. Jones (chair & director, Transnational Threats Project, Center for Strategic and International Studies; In the Graveyard of Empires) chronicles Reagan's covert action to prop up and stabilize Walesa and his movement. This is the complete story of Reagan's black-and-white view of the failure of Yalta after World War II that created a USSR-dominated Eastern Europe. As Soviet leaders threatened to invade Poland in an attempt to help former leader Wojciech Jaruezlski suppress the democratic solidarity movement, Reagan and his cabinet officials delivered prosolidarity propaganda and money to shore up the campaign. Jones also explains the connections between Reagan's covert actions, called QRHELPFUL, and the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989.
VERDICT This fast-paced book fills in gaps in Reagan's Cold War strategy that historians and Russian history buffs will enjoy.
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