Thursday, January 13, 2011

Stories from the Cold War

If you are into Cold War books, as I am, then you must read The Red Gods by Donald Lindquist and The Hunt for Red October by Tom Clancy, if you haven't already. Both were written in the 1980s and long before the collapse of the Soviet Union.

In The Red Gods (1981), the Soviet Union draws up an audacious plan to nuke America that could lead to the end of the world. It does not happen, of course. There are sane men behind the Iron Curtain, a term coined by Winston Churchill to describe the communist bloc, who bring the "mad men" in Moscow back from the brink of a catastrophic war with the United States.

In The Hunt for Red October (1984), the two superpowers clash on the high seas (actually under the Atlantic) in a desperate search for a renegade Soviet missile submarine which defects to the United States. While the Yankees do everything to steer The Red October and her crew over to their side, the Commies dispatch their entire naval fleet to either bring it back—or destroy it.

Both stories play out across continents—from the White House to the Kremlin and from CIA headquarters at Langley to KGB headquarters at Lubyanka. The novels are gripping and reflect scenarios that might have actually occurred at the height of the Cold War.

Mercifully, that hostile era is behind us; hopefully, stories of that period are not.

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