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The United States and the Origins of the Cold War, 1941-1947 (Columbia Studies in Contemporary American History) Paperback – October 15, 2000

ISBN-13: 978-0231122399 ISBN-10: 023112239X Edition: Revised

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Product Details

  • Series: Columbia Studies in Contemporary American History
  • Paperback: 432 pages
  • Publisher: Columbia University Press; Revised edition (October 15, 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 023112239X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0231122399
  • Product Dimensions: 9 x 5.8 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #571,542 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

[T]he most satisfactory post-revisionist treatment of American policy making to date.

(New York Times Book Review)

History moves fast, and it is a rare book that stays current after almost 30 years. John Gaddis's "postrevisionist" study of how the United States and Soviet Union got themselves into such sterile conflict of interests following the defeat of the Axis remains one of the best books available on this crucial period.

(The Daily Yomiuri)

An exceptionally elegant and detached example of post revisionism. (from the first edition)

(The New York Review of Books)

About the Author

John Lewis Gaddis is professor of history at Yale University


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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

14 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Arthur Digbee VINE VOICE on June 5, 2007
Format: Paperback
This book is a classic history of the origins of the Cold War. It must be seen in terms of the debates when it was written. The first interpretations of the Cold War told a story of an aggressive, expansionist Soviet Union subverting democracy in Eastern Europe. In the 1960s and 1970s, revisionists began to tell a different story about American economic expansion ("imperialism") as a cause of the Cold War.

In this book, Gaddis presents a narrative that takes both sides of this debate seriously. He does not write in an "academic" style but aims instead at the general reader. This is the essential post-revisionist history of the Cold War, though he and many others have updated the history after the opening of Soviet archives in the 1990s.

It's a good read, and I highly recommend it despite its age.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on November 25, 2011
Format: Paperback
While the idea that numerous factors such as economics, world events, and local politics affect United States policy decisions, such as in the case of the Cold War, is a common idea today it was decidedly uncommon line of argument in 1973 when a then new scholar, John Lewis Gaddis, proposed it as his main argument for his now classic The United States and the Origins of the Cold War: 1941-1947. While Gaddis' book is now somewhat out of date, especially with the number of Soviet documents that came to light during the 1990's, it still remains an important work for historians and lay readers alike.

What is so interesting about Gaddis' book is that it was one of the first post-revisionist works that looked at US policy towards the Soviet Union from numerous dimensions. Gaddis incorporates revisionist theories of economics; although he points out they are too limited to explain the Cold War, while at the same time putting them in context by describing how US leaders truly believed they would help bring lasting peace (page 20). Yet Gaddis goes far beyond revisionist theory in his argument clearly showing how not only personality quirks, bureaucracy, and other forces helped shaped US policy. An excellent example by Gaddis is his demonstration of the effect of religious organizations, such as the Catholic Church which was strongly anti-communist, on local US politics (page 52-53). In specific he describes how some politicians, especially Republicans, took advantage of Catholic, especially Polish Catholic, distaste for the Russians and Communism (page 146). Gaddis also points out how individuals and policy missteps also helped generate the Cold War.
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By Robert Allen on April 23, 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This read is an expansion of Gaddis' PhD dissertation. I Highly recommend this read to folk interested in America's involvement in the Cold War.

Gaddis is an acknowledged Master in the breadth and depth of his knowledge in the Cold War - acknowledged by a number of other Masters in the subject.

I Highly recommend this read, however, when it comes to the Truman Doctrine, Gaddis and I part company - largely because Gaddis sees the Truman Doctrine as a response to Russian provocation, whereas I see the Truman Doctrine as the start of major American provocation of the Russians.

I am writing my own book on America's Architecture of the Cold War. I have read a number of other Gaddis works, although I tend to disagree with many Gaddis orientations.

I consider this book a MUST read for folk interested in the Cold War.
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11 of 25 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on April 2, 1999
Format: Hardcover
Gaddis eloquently addresses the causes of the Cold War. Gaddis discusses the policy of the Truman administration and how a "get tough" policy led to the Cold War between the United States and the Soviet Union.
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16 of 112 people found the following review helpful By Martin Ridgeway on May 23, 2002
Format: Paperback
Actually the Cold War started when the Soviets supposedly assasinated General Sikorsky. And before they supposedly did that because of the certain fact Sikorsky didn't like the USSR for their mass murder of thousands of Polish officers, they set up an alternative Polish regime to combat Poland's true one that was in exile in Cairo in 1943. The reason for that was because the authentic Governemnt of Poland would likely pick Sikorsky as the leader of Poland after the war and he could have become president. And if he did there would definitely be NO Communism in Poland, now that would take away the USSR's direct land bridge to East Germany where they always poised themselves to take over the Indusrial Rhineland(Oh my god if I though like Chomsky I would say that the USSR was one big greedy corporation that really according to its game plan wanted to absord West German buisiness prospects that the US Marshall plan created into it's own realm.)
The USSR's placement of Soviet style regimes in Eastern Europe that imprisoned millions is the real cause for the "get tough" policy. Not to mention the Soviet placing 2 million men in Eastern Europe in a posture to attack the West mainly through the Fulda Gap against 1 American Division along the Frankfurt to Rhineland highway. The USSR's intrest in the Industrial Complex has to be looked into it may provide the only explanation for why they murdered so many just so they could keep intact their land bridge to Rhineland.
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