Regular price: £19.99

Membership details Membership details
  • A 30-day trial plus your first audiobook, free
  • 1 credit/month after trial – choose any book, any price
  • Easy exchanges – swap any book you don’t love
  • Keep your audiobooks, even if you cancel
  • Free, unlimited access to Audio Shows
  • After your trial, Audible is just £7.99/month
OR
In Basket

Summary

1983 was a supremely dangerous year - even more dangerous than 1962, the year of the Cuban Missile Crisis. In the US, President Reagan massively increased defence spending, described the Soviet Union as an 'evil empire' and announced his 'Star Wars' programme, calling for a shield in space to defend the US from incoming missiles.

Yuri Andropov, the paranoid Soviet leader, saw all this as signs of American aggression and convinced himself that the US really meant to attack the Soviet Union. He put the KGB on alert to look for signs of an imminent nuclear attack. When a Soviet fighter jet shot down Korean Air Lines flight KAL 007 after straying off course over a sensitive Soviet military area, President Reagan described it as a 'terrorist act' and 'a crime against humanity'. The temperature was rising fast.

Then at the height of the tension, NATO began a war game called Able Archer 83. In this exercise, NATO requested permission to use the codes to launch nuclear weapons. The nervous Soviets convinced themselves this was no exercise but the real thing.

This is an extraordinary and largely unknown Cold War story of spies and double agents, of missiles being readied, of intelligence failures, misunderstandings and the panic of world leaders. With access to hundreds of extraordinary new documents just released in the US, Taylor Downing is able to tell for the first time the gripping but true story of how near the world came to the brink of nuclear war in 1983.

1983: The World at the Brink is a real-life thriller.

©2018 Taylor Downing (P)2018 Little, Brown Book Group

What members say

Average customer ratings

Overall

  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    23
  • 4 Stars
    6
  • 3 Stars
    0
  • 2 Stars
    2
  • 1 Stars
    0

Performance

  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    19
  • 4 Stars
    7
  • 3 Stars
    0
  • 2 Stars
    0
  • 1 Stars
    2

Story

  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    20
  • 4 Stars
    8
  • 3 Stars
    0
  • 2 Stars
    0
  • 1 Stars
    0
Sort by:
  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

American accents!?

Ok the content was good and the narration very good until the parts where there are quotes for Americans, for some mad reason the narrator puts on a terrible and inconsistent American accent that manages to slowly change back into an English accent by the end of the quote. Inextricably some of the quotes for Russians are also done in a strange America type accent. I got to chapter three and couldn't take it anymore the accents where so off putting I had to give up on the book.

3 of 5 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Good book - terrible narration

Interestingly, the British narrator uses the same "american" accent for every single american person in the book (from Regan to Schultz)... Makes it hard to listen to.

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Powerful narrative of the late Cold War

There is little in this book which is genuinely new, but to bring all of the strands together is worthwhile and, to anyone not already familiar with the events, it will be startling. It really does beggar belief how we could get so close to a nuclear, still more that it was almost unknown in the West whilst it was happening.

The various elements around Exercise Able Archer form perhaps 50% of the book, with the rest sketching the lead-up to the crisis, mostly the election of Ronald Reagan and the ascent to power of Yuri Andropov. It traces the growth in concern amongst the Soviet leadership very well, with both the Soviets and the Americans seen in the context of the time, not through either a political lens or with the benefit of hindsight. There is a substantial section at the end about the Reagan/Gorbachev summits and the moves towards genuine arms reduction. The section on the Korean airliner is very well told, with questions raised that I had not appreciated before.

All in all, a very cohesive narrative, well-told, on arguably the most dangerous moment in human history.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Cold War fans

A great insight into Cold War goings on. The best I’ve come across so far.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Compelling and a bit frightening.

Authoritative and easy to follow. An excellent telling of the events of 1983 and the years before and after. Ronald Reagan goes up hugely in my estimation after reading this book. Highly recommended.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Excellent account

Superb telling of an all too often overlooked period of the Cold War. Goes into great depth on the events and political manouevering

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Proof that truth is stranger than fiction

If you lived through the early 1980’s many of the names will be familiar. However the stories behind them are a revelation.
You need to hear this book.

Sort by:
  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Douglas
  • 12-06-18

Complaints About Narrator's Accents are dead-on

The story is interesting enough, but Narrator's U.S. accents are grating. Each time an American speaks, he sounds like a weird cartoon character. I made it to chapter 8 before giving up.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Brad Crisler
  • 27-04-18

Dead Hand is better...

And more detailed. This narrator should stick to his native English accent. He truly has the most annoying, embarrassing and insulting American accent. Ever. Please. Stop.

3 of 4 people found this review helpful