Detente and Confrontation

American-Soviet Relations from Nixon to Reagan, revised edition

In this revised edition of his acclaimed 1985 volume, incorporating newly declassified secret Russian as well as American materials, Raymond Garthoff reexamines the historical development of American-Soviet relations from 1969 through 1980. The book takes into account both the broader context of world politics and internal political considerations and developments, and examines these developments as experienced by both sides.

Despite a long history as rivals and adversaries, the U.S. and the Soviet Union reached a détente in relations in 1972. From 1975 to 1979, however, this détente gradually eroded until it collapsed in the wake of the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan. Garthoff recounts how differences in ideology, perceptions, aims, and interests were key determinants of both U.S. and Soviet policies. Involvements in Europe, with China, and in the third world further entangled their relations. And each saw the other not only as harboring hostile intentions but also as building military and other capabilities to support such aims. Détente—as well as confrontation—remained an alternative only within the constraints of a continuing cold war.

Praise for the first edition:

"A gold mine of information." The New York Times Book Review

"A monumental contribution offering insightful, rarely considered comparisons of Soviet and American perspectives." Library Journal

Praise for the revised edition:

"This unprecedented, detailed volume adds invaluable new information to the public knowledge and the historical record." Ambassador Anatoly F. Dobrynin