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The New Cold War: Putin's Russia and the Threat to the West 2nd Edition

64 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0230614345
ISBN-10: 0230614345
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Editorial Reviews


Lucas makes a powerful case …The New Cold War is intelligent [and] thoughtful … the first comprehensive compendium of the Kremlin's crimes against Russians and non-Russians alike. (Peter Savodnik, Time)

Lucas is a fine writer, and his prose has all the verve and punch that the best of his magazine, The Economist, has to offer. (Foreign Affairs)

A meticulously constructed indictment of Putin's strong-arm tactics at home and his increasingly aggressive tone in dealing with his immediate neighbors and any other countries that try to question his behavior. (

Brilliantly reported, morally unblinkered look at what has happened to Russia under Mr. Putin…For bringing the nature of the threat so vividly to light, Mr. Lucas has performed a public service. (Brent Stephens, Wall Street Journal)

Highly informed, crisply written and alarming... Wise up and stick together is the concluding message in Lucas's outstanding book. (Michael Burleigh, Evening Standard)

Lucas has a vivid, highly readable style. (George Walden,

Whether this campaign of bullying is comparable to the Cold War is a matter of huge importance to the West. Hence it matters which experts we pay attention to….I can unreservedly recommend Edward Lucas. The New Cold War is about the fate that has yet again befallen the unfortunate region of Europe that lies on the borderlands of East and West. (Daniel Johnson, New York Sun)

The New Cold War powerfully argues that America and Europe's excessive focus on Iraq and Afghanistan has blinded them to a threat closer to home. Thoroughly informed, steeped in his subject's recent history, with a flinty, caustic style that usually sizes up political phenomena with exacting precision, Lucas reminds us why longtime foreign correspondents surpass rookies who parachute into a foreign hotspot....Lucas offers one of the best briefs on how Yeltsin's Wild West became Putin's chilly petrofascism, detailing the return of rigged elections, forced psychiatric medication, the use of natural resources as foreign-policy bludgeons, and the rogue nations that are once again Moscow's best friends. (Philadelphia Inquirer)

Edward Lucas is one of the best-informed, best-connected, and most perceptive journalists writing about Putin's Russia. The New Cold War is essential reading for anyone who wants to understand what is happening in Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union today. (Anne Applebaum, author of Gulag, A History)

Edward Lucas's absorbing book shows the forces that are turning Russia against the West. They include militarism, greed, and a failure to understand that national greatness can be based only on civilized values. It is an invaluable primer for students of the Russian situation and a cautionary tale for those who prefer to treat Russia as it pretends to be rather than as it is. (David Satter, author of Darkness at Dawn: The Rise of the Russian Criminal State)

While the West is preoccupied with the Middle East and Islamic terrorism, Edward Lucas warns, Russia is quietly reinventing herself as a milder version of the Soviet Union and hence as a new threat to the West. Conceding Putin's domestic achievements, the seasoned East European correspondent of The Economist tracks post-Communist Russia's skillful exploitation of the capitalist world's greed to divide and thus to dominate it. It is a chilling account that needs to be taken seriously. (Richard Pipes, author of The Russian Revolution)

Veteran Moscow news correspondent Edward Lucas provides an authoritative analysis of the disturbing events in Russia today in this thoughtful, thoroughly researched and brilliantly written book that deserves the widest possible readership. (Robert Gellately, author of Lenin, Stalin and Hitler: The Age of Social Catastrophe)

Edward Lucas offers a devastating but apt critique of Vladimir Putin's domestic repression and increasingly aggressive foreign policy. This stark and clear-sighted book is an excellent read. It makes evident the need for a new Western policy. Russia's political development is one of the key issues of our time. (Anders Åslund, senior fellow, Peterson Institute for International Economics, Washington, D.C.)

Edward Lucas has written a brilliant and profoundly disturbing study of modern Russia. It is the history of rediscovered authoritarianism and the stunning brutality with which the KGB elite returned to power. It is also the story of how Western venality and political credulity made this possible and placed the security of Europe at risk. Above all, this is the tale of how President Putin methodically destroyed the vestiges of democracy in Russia and launched a New Cold War against the West. It is difficult to overstate the importance of Edward Lucas's latest work for US and European policymakers. (Bruce P. Jackson, President, Project on Transitional Democracies)

About the Author

Edward Lucas has covered Eastern Europe for The Economist for over twenty years. He witnessed the end of the last Cold War, the parting of the Iron Curtain, and, as the Moscow bureau chief, covered Boris Yeltsin's reign and Vladimir Putin's rise to power. He lives in London, England.


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin; 2 edition (March 17, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0230614345
  • ISBN-13: 978-0230614345
  • Product Dimensions: 6.3 x 0.8 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (64 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,088,997 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Edward Lucas is a senior editor at the Economist. A former foreign correspondent with 30 years' experience in Russian and east European affairs, he is the author of, among other publications, Deception (2011), which deals with east-west espionage, and The New Cold War (2008), which gave warning of the threat posed by Vladimir Putin's Russia. He is a non-resident fellow at CEPA, a think-tank in Washington, DC. He lives in London and is married to the writer Cristina Odone. He tweets as @edwardlucas. For more details, see

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

98 of 117 people found the following review helpful By Mladen Nesic on August 26, 2008
Format: Hardcover
I read this book because I would like to add a Russian component to the masters thesis I am working on, and thought it would give me good background. Alas, while the book was an entertaining read, it is practically useless academically. Mr Lucas' prose drips with outrage and disdain toward Russia's leaders--and I sometimes got the feeling that his attitude extends toward all Russian people. Although I don't have a deep background in this field, it was pretty obvious that Mr Lucas glosses over very complicated events in order to substantiate his own rather simplistic argument. The book quotes very few sources and mostly regurgitates events that have already been widely reported on. The author's lack of nuance is the most troubling--everything boils down to Putin/Russia = power/control/corruption/bad--which left me with very little I could use in a serious paper. By the end of the book, I had the impression that I had read a polemic summary of everything bad the mainstream Western media has had to say about Russia over the past couple of years, which might explain why it appears to have gotten so many good reviews from major news outlets.

Mr Lucas may be right, and he certainly has a valid opinion on Russia's politics and the direction the country is going. However, I hope that anyone who would like to read this book understands what it is--the strongly written personal opinion of a journalist who has been covering Russia for a few years. It is certainly not an objective or meticulous study of any aspect of contemporary Russia.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By James L. Bowditch on October 5, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This is a very compelling book, but every sentence is composed with the most acerbic language possible. Lucas makes a very strong case that the new Cold War is happening before our eyes. It did not need to be amplified by linguistic shouting, even in the references which were extensive and persuasive. My background as a behavioral scientist would have suggested a more restrained use of language that let the facts tell the story, which are truly there. It is one of the best books I have read that relates to foreign policy. It is too bad that it is screamed, not spoken.
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Format: Paperback
All anyone need say in response to criticisms written here of the editorial defects &/or doubts as to the predictive value of Mr. Lucas's observations, is that events have born out his worst projections both for the failure of Russian delusions and EU weakness in response to Russian attempts to undermine Western Democracies (contemporary case in point the "loan" of 9M€ the the LePen's far-right party in France).
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20 of 28 people found the following review helpful By Paul E. Richardson VINE VOICE on October 17, 2008
Format: Hardcover
That this book was hastened to press is evident from the numerous typos that occasionally blunder over into silly factual errors (Henry Truman, Kirgistan). The prose is also, while engaging, at times under-edited. Yet one wants to overlook these shortcomings, as Edward Lucas is an important and influential observer of things Russian, having served for several years as the Economist magazine's bureau chief in Moscow.

Drawing on this experience, Lucas recounts a decade of Russian domestic and foreign policy crises, arguing that Russia is a dangerous foe, bullying its neighbors, cornering natural resource markets, crushing internal dissent and defrauding foreign investors. "Repression at home is matched by aggression abroad," Lucas writes. "Russia is reverting to behavior last seen during the Soviet era," yet now it is not "the Kremlin's tanks thundering into Afghanistan that signal[s] the West's weakness; now it is Kremlin banks thundering through the city of London."

Yet, Lucas notes that, while Russia's "tactics are increasingly clear and effective... the goal is still puzzling." Imputing intent from actions, he concludes that Russia "...wants to be respected, trusted, and liked, but will not act in a way that gains respect, nurtures trust, or wins affection. It settles for being noticed - even when that comes as a result of behavior that alienates and intimidates other countries. It compensates for real weakness by showing pretend strength." In short, we should be worried about Russia because it is reasserting itself in the world, and it is doing so with methods that scorn (or undermine) the cherished values of Western Liberal Societies: free trade, primacy of individual liberties, the rule of law.

Fair enough. The facts of the Putinera events are presented well.
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Format: Paperback
The end of the Cold War has been one of the watershed moments of the twentieth century. The tension between the Soviet Union and its allies on one hand, and the Western capitalist democracies on the other, has completely dominated all of international relations for almost half a century. The collapse of the Soviet Union had spurred hopes that the days of bipolar world and the constant threat of total nuclear holocaust are finally behind us. For some time it looked that Russia and a myriad other post-Soviet republics are firmly on a path of joining the West in emulation the institutions and practices of modern liberal democracies. Russia in particular, despite all of its massive economic troubles, seemed to be opening more and more and getting increasingly integrated in the international institutions and treaties. However, the beginning of the twenty-first century saw a dramatic reversal in political and personal freedoms within Russia and an increasing hostility and open challenge to the Western nations on international front. This renewed Russian belligerence and repression of political freedoms is the consequence of the arrival of Vladimir Putin on the scene, and his systematic attempts to reverse what is perceived by many in Russia as the whole scale national decline into chaos and lawlessness.

All of these developments and many others that are not so familiar to the western observers are chronicled with an unprecedented detail and thoroughness by Edward Lucas in "The New Cold war." Edward Lucas is one of the best journalists who specialize in Eastern Europe and the former Soviet republics. He relies heavily on his own journalistic contacts and experiences to weave a powerful and informative narrative of Putin's Russia and the power structures and mechanism that it employs.
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