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The Brink Cover2The incredible story of the 1983 war game that triggered a tense, brittle period of nuclear brinkmanship between the United States and the former Soviet Union.

What happened in 1983 to make the Soviet Union so afraid of a potential nuclear strike from the United States that they sent mobile ICBMs (intercontinental ballistic missiles) into the field, placing them on a three-minute alert?

Marc Ambinder explains the anxious period between the United States and the Soviet Union from 1982 to 1984, with the “Able Archer ’83” war game as the fulcrum of the tension. With astonishing and clarifying new details, he recounts the scary series of the close encounters that tested the limits of ordinary humans and powerful leaders alike. Ambinder explains how political leadership ultimately triumphed over misunderstandings, helping the two countries maintain a fragile peace.

About Me

Based in Los Angeles, I’m an adjunct professor of journalism at USC, where I teach national security reporting. I write for USA Today, The Week, and I sketch out ideas on Medium. My third book, The Brink: President Reagan and the 1983 Nuclear War Scare, will be published by Simon and Schuster. I’m also a fellow at the Center for Ethics and the Rule of Law at the University of Pennsylvania Law School.

I spent 12 years in Washington, D.C. covering politics, policy and the White House for ABC News, CBS News, The Atlantic, National Journal and The Hotline.

I enjoy improv comedy, I dabble in motion graphics design, and my two favorite magazines are Nature and Aviation Week and Space Technology. My Wikipedia page is (mostly) accurate.

I’ve also consulted in the private sector, helping people and companies large and small, for-and-non-profit, tell compelling, accurate, persuasive stories. I collaborate with film and television producers, corporate executives, writers, and students.


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After she accepted an offer to join President Trump’s National Security Council, Dr. Fiona Hill,  found herself the putative victim of campaign of digital harassment to defame, degrade and doxxed her and her family. The political vector attached to this function came from the network of pro-Trump media agitators. Hill was a “mole.”  She was …