Archie Brown


On his book The Human Factor: Gorbachev, Reagan, and Thatcher, and the End of the Cold War (Another four questions)

Cover Interview of April 01, 2021

Seven of Eight:
If a “just browsing” reader were to approach your book at a bookstore, which pages would you hope were encountered first—and why?

I can answer that one more briefly—the Introduction. It’s only four and a half pages in length (pp. 1-5), but it tells the reader what questions the book seeks to answer, and it notes that the story of the interconnections of Gorbachev, Reagan, and Thatcher “is a contribution not only to an explanation of the end of the Cold War but also to a much older debate on the role an individual may play in the making of history”.

The rest of the book is a mixture of political biography of the three central figures, an account of their interrelationship, a narrative of the process by which the Cold War was ended, and an explanation of why it ended when it did. On that last important theme of the book, it would be quite good if the casual reader browsed pages 297-298.