When Jonathan Schell's monumental best-seller The Fate of the Earth was published in 1981, it was hailed by The New York Times as "an event of profound historical importance." Harrison Salisbury called it "the most important book of the decade."Now Schell has produced a work of equal — or greater — historical significance and literary accomplishment. Just as The Fate of the Earth became the seminal volume of the Cold War era, The Gift of Time is destined to become the same for our age. In a series of conversations with officials as diverse as Vietnam-era defense secretary Robert S. McNamara, former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev, and the last commander of the Strategic Command, General George Lee Butler, Schell finds support for the abolition of nuclear weapons in the unlikeliest places, among the very generals and politicians who presided over nuclear strategy and its implementation during the Cold War.
Writing in a spirit of optimism and hope, Schell calls upon all Americans — indeed, all of the world's citizens — to snap out of our Cold War trance, this forced cohabitation with horror, and take the step that alone can free us from nuclear danger and corruption, namely the abolition of nuclear weapons.