Best Books on Reagan’s Nuclear Policy

Time has a way of altering our views of the historical record.  History is not static. The combination of distance and new evidence can lead to dramatic shifts in the reputations of our former leaders. The 2001 release of previously sealed transcripts and notes from President Reagan’s and General Secretary Mikhail Gorbachev’s historic 1986 Reykjavik summit have led to a new understanding of Reagan’s views on nuclear weapons.  As a PhD candidate, Paul Lettow, first mined these notes and combined them with research into Reagan’s personal history to ultimately reveal a man who was morally repulsed by the threat nuclear weapons posed to humanity. Lettow turned his well documented thesis into a 2005 book, Ronald Reagan and His Quest to Abolish Nuclear Weapons. Lettow’s book is the best place to start to learn more about Reagan’s passionate vision for a world free of nuclear weapons.   

In 2009, Martin and Annelise Anderson, former aides to Reagan and prolific Reagan historians followed up with an insider’s view in Reagan’s Secret War: The Untold Story of his Fight to Save the World from Nuclear Disaster.


Ronald Reagan and His Quest to Abolish Nuclear Weapons By Paul Lettow

Ronald Reagan And His Quest to Abolish Nuclear Weapons

By Paul Lettow

In Ronald Reagan and His Quest to Abolish Nuclear Weapons, Paul Lettow explores the depth and sophistication of President Ronald Reagan’s commitment to ridding humankind permanently of the threat of nuclear war.











Reagan's Secret War Book Cover

Reagan’s Secret War:  The Untold Story of his Fight to Save the World from Nuclear Disaster

By Martin Anderson & Annelise Anderson

On February 6, 1981, at his first National Security Council meeting, Ronald Reagan told his advisers: “I will make the decisions.” As Reagan’s Secret War reveals, these words provide the touchstone for understanding the extraordinary accomplishments of the Reagan administration, including the decisive events that led to the end of the Cold War











Reykjavik Revisited: Steps Toward a World Free of Nuclear Weapons

By George P. Shultz, Steven P. Andereasen, Sidney D. Drell, and James E. Goodby

This collection of essays examines the practical steps necessary to address the current security challenges of nuclear weapons and to move toward the goal Ronald Reagan and Mikhail Gorbachev envisaged in their historic meeting at Reykjavik: the elimination of all nuclear weapons.