A Memoir of the Missile Age; One Man's Journey.

Author:Bevier, Tom
Position:Book review

Vitaly Leonidovich Katayev; A MEMOIR OF THE MISSILE AGE; Hoover Institution Press (Nonfiction: History) 24.95 ISBN: 9780817914745

Byline: Tom Bevier

This fascinating memoir of a Soviet military technology engineer recounts with conviction the political failings of nuclear disarmament.

When Vitaly Leonidovich Katayev, author of A Memoir of the Missile Age: One Man's Journey, was a child, he was admired for the models he made of ships and airplanes, so his family was not surprised that when they asked him about his ambition after graduating from a technical school, his answer was, "number one: interesting work, a designer's job would be best of all."

And design he did: airplanes, space rockets, and weapon delivery systems. He rose through the bureaucratic ranks of his country's military-industrial complex to become deputy head of defense and security under Mikhail Gorbachev during the nuclear disarmament talks between the Soviet Union and the United States.

Katayev, who died in 2001, left behind this memoir, which is described in an introduction by Dave E. Hoffman, who won a Pulitzer Prize in 2010 for a book about the nuclear arms race that sheds light on the "dark corners of the arms race from the Soviet side."

Katayev suggests in A Memoir of the Missile Age, which he deposited at the Hoover Institution at Stanford University, that the Soviets and Americans both exaggerated the...

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