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Cold War Triumphalism: The Misuse of History After the Fall of Communism Paperback – June 30, 2006

ISBN-13: 978-1595580832 ISBN-10: 1595580832 Edition: 1st

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 359 pages
  • Publisher: New Press, The; 1 edition (June 30, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1595580832
  • ISBN-13: 978-1595580832
  • Product Dimensions: 8.9 x 6 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 2.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,590,248 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

The contributors to this collection are after big game: the American sense of triumphalism that followed the end of Soviet communism. Coming from the political left, they attack the claims of those who believe America's military might, market economy and its values explain and justify its pre-eminence. They succeed in rendering more complex the origins and costs of U.S. dominance in the world. Two of the most successful essays, by Leo Ribuffo and Bruce Cumings, take on the intellectual difficulties with the right's historical explanations for the collapse of Soviet communism. Two other sparkling essays, by Jessica Wang and Chalmers Johnson, respectively, clarify how cooperative internationalism has long been a powerful theme of American foreign relations and how the Cold War has never ended in East Asia and Latin America. Yet too many of the authors have yielded to ideological temptations, which distort understanding of the past. Carolyn Eisenberg, for instance, argues that the U.S. caused Germany's division and the Berlin crisis in the late 1940s. Her case is plausible as a prosecutor's brief but inadequate as history, which requires acknowledgment of other positions and what strengths they may possess. Yet despite imbalance, this collection performs a valuable service. No one interested in the origins, costs and benefits of American hegemony can overlook it.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

Review

A persuasive case for the necessity of revisiting the legacy of the Cold War. -- Boston Review

A spirited alternative reader. -- Library Journal

Acute and timely analysis of the historical background and premises of the self-congratulatory mood that has dominated American foreign policy. -- Gabriel Kolko

Provides needed balance and alternative perspective to historical debates about the Cold War and the future direction of US policy. -- Choice

Customer Reviews

2.8 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

27 of 34 people found the following review helpful By pnotley@hotmail.com on June 29, 2004
Format: Hardcover
The end of the cold war and the collapse of the Soviet Union has certainly encouraged American anti-communists. Nor has this triumph merely been confined to the CPUSA or to Marxists. Even moderate liberals like Mondale or Dukakis stand discredited in the Orwellian weltanschung. This book is a collection of essays by a series of leading scholars which criticize this consensus.
There is much to be said for it. (1) We have an essay by Carolyn Eisenberg that draws on her book on how American partioned Germany. Discussing the Berlin Blockade, she points out the United States negoiated in bad faith, avoided possiblities to compromise, and undercut the Allied Control Council and the United Nations. (Fortunately for the American reputation, the Canadians successfully prevented the UN Security Council President from releasing a report that would criticize the United States.) The United States never wanted to discuss the currency questions that sparked the blockade, because it would hamper its plans to partition Germany. Moreover, the blockade was not as complete as people think (West Berlin still had access to the rest of Berlin and the Eastern Zone). (2) Chalmers Johnson contains a good piece of muckraking about the pathologies of American dominance. The United States, along with Somalia is the only country to oppose the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child. It opposes the ICC, the land mines treaty, and UN resolutions to adhere to the ABM treaty. We've learned that Chilean secret police man who ordered the Letellier/Moffit murder was a "paid CIA agent" and continued this status after blowing up a bomb in the streets of Washington.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Chimonsho on March 21, 2008
Format: Paperback
This is a thoughtful, well-integrated edited book. It presents fresh research on a key 20th century theme, ably considering alternate viewpoints, notably in the chapter on the VENONA/Moscow documents. It focuses largely on great-power relations and their implications for US domestic policy, with scant coverage of the crucial impact on the Third World apart from Chalmers Johnson's essay. There's a misplaced notion in public discourse that leftist, even liberal scholars are "revisionists" distorting what everyone else "knows" about history. This is patently false on 2 counts: no one school of thought has a monopoly on the truth, and revising our understanding of the past is what historians routinely do, accounting for new evidence and interpretations. This is no mere academic exercise; a flawed grasp of Cold War history encourages disastrous, misguided foreign adventurism even now. For a further range of views see J. Gaddis, "We Now Know;" M. Walker, "The Cold War;" and T. Engelhardt's highly relevant "The End of Victory Culture."
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0 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Angela Price on February 14, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I purchased this book for a history project, but did not realize it was a compilation of many different perspectives. I will read it later as I had to choose a specific area to review. The book came in excellent condition and arrived quickly. I look forward to the opportunity to read it thoroughly.
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4 of 13 people found the following review helpful By hia on December 1, 2008
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
We used this book as a texbook in an adult education course. Almost everyone in our class (myself included), most of whom are quite liberal, were appalled by the overall lack of objectivity, the repeated assertions that throughout history the major cause of woes in the world has been American policy. Rather than an objective discussion of the consequences of cold war triumphalism (which is real and has had negative consequences), most of the papers attempt to depict the Cold War as a result of American foreign policy, without much discussion of the very real dangers that the Soviet Union posed to the Western world.
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14 of 77 people found the following review helpful By Edward Gray on October 19, 2004
Format: Hardcover
Ellen Schrecker is a committed Communist and revisionist historian. No amount of evidence from Soviet archives open since 1991 will dissuade her from her position that it is the free nations and peoples of the world that caused the cold war, rather than the aggressive and murdering nations that she loves so and whose passing she laments.

Ellen Shrecker is part of the politburo of the American historians that are trying to rewrite history. It won't work. The facts are out and she is swimming against a flood of paper that give the lie to her beliefs. If you REALLY want to understand where things stand, read David Horwitz, Ron Radosh, John Earl Haynes and Harvey Klehr.
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