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The Long Peace: Inquiries Into the History of the Cold War [Paperback]

John Lewis Gaddis
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)

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Book Description

February 2, 1989 0195043359 978-0195043358
In this fascinating new interpretation of Cold War history, John Lewis Gaddis focuses on how the United States and the Soviet Union have managed to get through more than four decades of Cold War confrontation without going to war with one another.
Using recently-declassified American and British documents, Gaddis argues that the postwar international system has contained previously unsuspected elements of stability. This provocative reassessment of contemporary history--particularly as it relates to the current status of Soviet-American relations--will certainly generate discussion, controversy, and important new perspectives on both past and present aspects of the age in which we live.

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Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

In this collection of essays, Gaddis raises some interesting and timely questions. How is it that we have known four decades without a world war, when relations between the superpowers have been so tense? Gaddis believes that historians of the next century may look back upon our era as one of general peace and stability, despite the numerous conflicts . His explanations include nuclear deterrence and the fact that the United States and Russia studiously avoid direct confrontation, by constructing walls, using the troops of client states, or recognizing spheres of influence. This provocative and well-argued work is recommended. Jeff Northrup, Birmingham P.L. Ala.
Copyright 1987 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.


"Coherent, learned, well written--and a reminder of just how changeable are the passions kindled by nuclear deterrence....[Gaddis is] an intelligent historian, and he combines theoretical reflection with a deep knowledge of the massive American archives....[These essays] constitute a unified history of the Cold War."--The New York Times Book Review

"With his customary insight and care, John Gaddis gives us important and illuminating essays that deepen and alter our understanding of Soviet-American relations."--Robert Jervis, Institute of War and Peace Studies, Columbia University

"A sophisticated addition to the Cold War literature."--Booklist

"Gaddis raises some interesting and timely questions....Provocative and well-argued."--Library Journal

"A fresh slant on the history of the Cold War."--Cultural Information Service

"Gaddis writes superbly well, no mean task when mixing narrative, analysis, personal reflection and advocacy....He asks questions that go to the heart of the matter; he offers subtle, skeptical answers clearly open to continuing debate."--The Washington Post Book World

"Few are more qualified to analyze the "long peace" than John Lewis Gaddis....[He makes] a case for the relative stability of the international order. In so doing, he offers an interpretation as insightful as it is provocative."--St. Petersburg Times

"A distinguished historian of post-1945 international relations presents eight substantial, thoroughly researched essays on the overall theme of the war the United States and the Soviet Union have managed to avoid with each other."--Foreign Affairs

"A collection of well-wrought and insightful essays."--The New Republic

"Together, these essays...form a comprehensive and perceptive statement that scholars and politicians alike ought not to ignore."--American Studies International

Product Details

  • Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press (February 2, 1989)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0195043359
  • ISBN-13: 978-0195043358
  • Product Dimensions: 0.7 x 5.3 x 7.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,576,574 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars New Perspectives November 3, 2008
Many historians have taken the viewpoint that the Cold War was a great time of strife and conflict and that we were merely a second away from total war with the Soviet Union. Although there was never any formal war between the Soviet Union and the United States, we nonetheless were in conflict in all aspects of society with each other. But John Gaddis in his novel "The Long Peace: Inquiries Into the History of the Cold War" puts forth the argument that the Cold War in fact, as the title suggests, actually time of great peace between the superpowers in terms of open warfare. In it he tries to examine why this "Long Peace" existed, and the factors that contributed to the war staying "Cold" and never escalating to direct military action between the two super powers. Gaddis also presents an interesting viewpoint of the Cold War as possibly being a necessity to both countries. He outlines the war from several different viewpoints and draws on the central theme that most likely we never went to war over direct fear of one another and that inevitably that is not what either country ever wanted.

"The Long Peace" is essentially a collection of essays from primarily the United Sates archives. Gaddis breaks down the novel into several key chapters. Firstly he addresses how Russian-American relations were prior to the outbreak of the Cold War. Leading up to and including World War Two. This is essential as we learn that even during World War Two, the U.S. was already viewing the possibilities of the Soviet Union as a threat post-war.

Most people would deem a viewpoint that the United States and Russia merely stayed in the Cold War for "world ranking" as erroneous. But Gaddis gives us compelling arguments as to why this actually may have some truth.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great history of the early days of the Cold War November 16, 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Although I disagree with John Lewis Gaddis from the Truman Doctrine on forward - this IS a great book for understanding the early days of the Cold War. Gaddis is a knowledgeable writer.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good Look at USSR v. US post WWII June 27, 2000
A good look at the history of relations between the Soviet Union and the United States in the period between WWII and the mid 1980's. Lack of information from Soviet sources (because they weren't available) a drawback, but good perspective from the NATO side.
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