Taylor Downing A riveting, real-life thriller about 1983 - the year tensions between the United States and the Soviet Union nearly brought the world to the point of nuclear Armageddon
The year 1983 was an extremely dangerous one - more dangerous than 1962, the year of the Cuban Missile Crisis. In the United States, President Reagan vastly increased defense spending, described the Soviet Union as an "evil empire," and launched the "Star Wars" Strategic Defense Initiative to shield the country from incoming missiles. Seeing all this, Yuri Andropov, the paranoid Soviet leader, became convinced that the US really meant to attack the Soviet Union and he put the KGB on high alert, looking for signs of an imminent nuclear attack.
When a Soviet plane shot down a Korean civilian jet, Reagan described it as "a crime against humanity." And Moscow grew increasingly concerned about America's language and behavior. Would they attack? The temperature rose fast. In November, the West launched a war-game exercise, code named "Abel Archer," that looked to the Soviets like the real thing. With Andropov's finger inching ever closer to the nuclear button, the world was truly on the brink.
This is an extraordinary and largely unknown Cold War story of spies and double agents, of missiles being readied, intelligence failures, misunderstandings, and the panic of world leaders. With access to hundreds of astonishing new documents, Taylor Downing tells for the first time the gripping but true story of how close the world came to nuclear war in 1983.
Taylor Downing 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.
Taylor Downing The loss of British bombers over Occupied Europe began to reach alarming levels in 1941. Could it be that the Germans were using a sophisticated form of radar to direct their night fighters and anti-aircraft guns at the British bombers?
British aerial reconnaissance discovered what seemed to be a rotating radar tower on a clifftop at Bruneval, near Le Havre. The truth must be revealed. The decision was taken to launch a daring raid on the Bruneval site to try and capture the technology for further examination. The planned airborne assault would be extremely risky. The parachute regiment had only been formed a year before on Churchill's insistence. This night raid would test the men to the extreme limits of their abilities.
Night Raid tells the gripping tale of this mission from the planning stages, to the failed rehearsals when the odds seemed stacked against them, to the night of the raid itself, and the scientific secrets that were discovered thanks to the paras' precious cargo - the German radar. Its capture was of immense importance in the next stages of the war and the mission itself marked the birth of the legend of the 'Red Devils'.
Taylor Downing A startling and vivid account of World War I, Secret Warriors uncovers how wartime code breaking, aeronautics, and scientific research laid the foundation for many of the innovations of the 20th century.
World War I is often viewed as a war fought by armies of millions living and fighting in trenches, aided by brutal machinery that cost the lives of many. But behind all of this an intellectual war was also being fought between engineers, chemists, code breakers, physicists, doctors, mathematicians, and intelligence gatherers. This hidden war was to make a positive and lasting contribution to how war was conducted on land, at sea, and in the air and, most importantly, to life at home.
Secret Warriors provides an invaluable and fresh history of World War I, profiling a number of the key incidents and figures that led to great leaps forward for the 20th century. Told in a lively and colorful narrative style, Secret Warriors reveals the unknown side of this tragic conflict.
Taylor Downing Paralysis. Stuttering. The 'shakes'. Inability to stand or walk. Temporary blindness or deafness.
When strange symptoms like these began appearing in men at Casualty Clearing Stations in 1915, a debate began in army and medical circles as to what it was, what had caused it and what could be done to cure it. But the numbers were never large. Then, in July 1916, with the start of the Somme battle, the incidence of shell shock rocketed.
The high command of the British army began to panic. An increasingly large number of men seemed to have simply lost the will to fight. As entire battalions had to be withdrawn from the front, commanders and military doctors desperately tried to come up with explanations as to what was going wrong.
'Shell shock' - what we would now refer to as battle trauma - was sweeping the Western Front. By the beginning of August 1916, nearly 200,000 British soldiers had been killed or wounded during the first month of fighting along the Somme. Another 300,000 would be lost before the battle was over. But the army always said it could not calculate the exact number of those suffering from shell shock. Reassessing the official casualty figures, Taylor Downing for the first time comes up with an accurate estimate of the total numbers who were taken out of action by psychological wounds. It is a shocking figure.
Taylor Downing's revelatory new book follows units and individuals from signing up to the Pals Battalions of 1914, through to the horrors of their experiences on the Somme which led to the shell shock that, unrelated to weakness or cowardice, left the men unable to continue fighting. He shines a light on the official - and brutal - response to the epidemic, even against those officers and doctors who looked on it sympathetically. It was, they believed, a form of hysteria. It was contagious. And it had to be stopped.