I've just finished the second draft of a new book about the Cold War. It is called TWO MINUTES TO MIDNIGHT - 1953: The Year of Living Dangerously. Here's a taster..
January, 1953. It is eight years on from the most destructive conflict in human history and the Cold War has entered its most deadly phase. An Iron Curtain has descended across Europe, and hostilities between the United States and the Soviet Union have turned hot on the Korean peninsula, as the two powers clash in an intractable and bloody proxy war.
Meanwhile, the pace of the nuclear arms race has become frenetic. The Soviet Union has finally tested its own atom bomb, as has Britain. But in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, the United States has detonated its first thermonuclear device, dwarfing the destruction unleashed on Hiroshima and Nagasaki at the end of the Second World War.
For the first time the Doomsday Clock is set at two minutes to midnight, with the chances of a man-made global apocalypse becoming increasingly likely. As the Cold War powers square up in political and military battles around the globe, every city has become a potential battleground and every citizen a target. 1953 is set to be a year of living dangerously.
On 3 May 1961, after a trial conducted largely in secret, a man named George Blake was sentenced to an unprecedented forty-two years in jail. At the time few details of his crimes were made public. By his own confession, he was a Soviet spy and rumours laters circulated that he had endangered dozens of British agents, but the reasons for his severe punishment were never revealed.
Clough and Revie
The Rivals Who Changed the Face of English Football
Don Revie and Brian Clough were born a brisk walk away from each other in Middlesbrough, in 1927 and 1935 respectively. They were both brought up in that North East town which was ravaged by the Depression, and went on to become highly successful professional footballers – both playing for England. Then, as young managers, they both took clubs languishing in the doldrums (Leeds United and Derby County) and moulded them into championship winners.