Oh, to be a fly on the wall the time Ronald Reagan tried to convince Margaret Thatcher she should read a Tom Clancy book.

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The U.K.’s National Archives has just released a new batch of declassified documents, including many from Thatcher’s years as prime minister. And Bloomberg Businessweek points out that, if you look at the stack of documents from immediately after an arms-control summit with Gorbachev in Rekjavik, you’ll find a memo from Thatcher’s private secretary Charles Powell, recapping a phone call between Reagan and the PM. His recounting of the book recommendation surely must be one of the Cold War’s most bone-dry notes:

“The president strongly recommended to the prime minister a new book by the author of Red October called (I think) Red Storm Rising. It gave an excellent picture of the Soviet Union’s intentions and strategy. He had clearly been much impressed by the book.”

Reagan loved Clancy, and in fact the president’s praise of The Hunt for Red October helped the author get his blockbuster career off the ground.

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Anyway, we got through the 1980s without a thermonuclear apocalypse and that’s what counts.


Contact the author at kelly@jezebel.com.

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