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Secret Docs: Reagan Prepared for Soviet Nuclear Talks With Fiction Novel

© AP Photo / Scott StewartReagan,Gorbachev summit
Reagan,Gorbachev summit - Sputnik International
While it's advisable for world leaders to read widely about global threats, it seems former US President Ronald Reagan may have taken that advice a little too far, with a recently released memo suggesting that he prepared for a talks with Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev by reading a fiction novel.

A recently released memo from former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher found that shortly after the 1986 Reykjavik summit in 1986, where US and Soviet leaders met to discuss attempts to reduce their respective nuclear stockpiles, Reagan rang Thatcher to recommend a book based on a hypothetical Third World War between NATO and the Warsaw Pact.

According to an account of a phone call between Reagan and Thatcher just after the talks in Iceland, the president "strongly commended" the prime minister to read the novel Red Storm Rising, written by author Tom Clancy.

​The memo, marked secret and written by Mrs Thatcher's private secretary and foreign policy advisor, described how Reagan thought the fiction novel was an "excellent" account of Moscow's intentions during the talks.

"The President strongly commended to the Prime Minister a new book by the author of 'Red October' called (I think) 'Red Storm Rising'. It gave an excellent picture of the Soviet Union's intentions and strategy. He had clearly been much impressed by the book," the memo read.

The story's plot details a war fought to the brink of a nuclear battle between NATO and the Moscow-headed Warsaw Pact, and how Soviet forces would offer Washington a generous negotiation offer while secretly planning for war.

​While it is unsure how much Red Storm Rising impacted the president's thinking, the memo clearly shows that the novel and its plot was clearly on Reagan's mind in the lead-up and aftermath of the Reykjavik meeting with Gorbachev in 1986.

The revelations are also sure to give ammunition to critics of Regan's foreign policy, given his fascination with a fiction book in during a time of highly tense and complicated geopolitical issues.

​While the novel's author, Tom Clancy, has been credited as being an astute observer of the Cold War, the writer later admitted that his primary source for information into NATO military strategies didn't come from classified material, but from a freely accessible naval warfare board game.

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