"The Soviet government was not amused," Dobrynin writes. "The State Department accused the Soviet Union of blowing the incident out of proportion. Perhaps. But of all the remarks I used in attempting to determine the President's genuine feelings and motives, it is unquestionably the one that everyone remembers most vividly."
According to Dobrynin, Reagan was the only American President who actually in his bones believed the Soviets were out to bury the world in communism. Yet Reagan's hatred of the U.S.S.R. ironically enabled him to see that the Kremlin wanted to defuse the threat of holocaust--a vision that sparked sheer fury among the hawks who circled around the Administration. Dobrynin's on-the-scene account of how America's coldest warrior de-iced to fly with the doves is moving, and it shows how Reagan--on his own initiative--unwrapped himself from the Yankee Doodle Dandy that got him elected to smother the nuclear nightmare.