- Paperback: 352 pages
- Publisher: Penguin Books; Reprint edition (December 26, 2006)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0143038273
- ISBN-13: 978-0143038276
- Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.8 x 8.5 inches
- Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars See all reviews (164 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #16,813 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The Cold War: A New History Paperback – December 26, 2006
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From Publishers Weekly
Gregory and Sklar, reading Yale history professor Gaddis's study of the American-Soviet standoff, give voice to their inner television announcer, their twin brands of masculine sonorousness verging on virile parody before settling comfortably on the side of familiar voice-over solidity. Gaddis's work unravels the tangled threads of the Cold War, from the tense Allied conferences at the end of WWII to the Korean War and onward, and his book's readers give it the sensation of every word being carefully cultivated and primped before being spoken. If this leads to some of the immediacy, the heart-in-throat sensation, of the events described being diluted, so be it, for Gregory and Sklar give Gaddis's book the grandeur its subject matter so richly deserves. Sounding more professorial, in the I-play-an-Ivy-League-professor-on-television sort of way, than the good professor himself, Gregory and Sklar do an admirable job of making Gaddis's learned words their own.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Preloaded Digital Audio Player edition.
From Bookmarks Magazine
Gaddis, professor of history at Yale and the Cold Wars preeminent historian, delivers a concise, readable introduction to an era about which Americans have increasingly little recollection. The author has had the somewhat unusual opportunity to examine his period of expertise both from withinin his books Strategies of Containment (1982) and The Long Peace: Inquiries into the History of the Cold War (1987), for instanceand now, with the benefit of new archival documents and hindsight, as a series of historical events. Although the relative brevity of the volume might suggest that Gaddis values concision over detail, the study gives new focus and meaning to one of the United States watershed periods.
Copyright © 2004 Phillips & Nelson Media, Inc. --This text refers to the Preloaded Digital Audio Player edition.
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Top customer reviews
Gaddis begins his journey through the Cold War by examining the relationship between the Anglo-Saxon powers and the Soviet Union during the Second World War. Gaddis argues that the roots of the Cold War can be traced to the Second World War and the apparent distrust that existed between the Anglo-Saxons and the Soviets. The Grand Alliance was an alliance between powers that did not trust one another, nor did they share the same postwar plans, that came together to defeat a common enemy. With such a major difference in ideology, the alliance was a matter of convenience and necessity. Gaddis supports this claim using the development of the atomic bomb. The Anglo-Americans neglected to tell Stalin they were developing the weapon because of the position it would give them in the postwar world, but Stalin knew about the bomb because of his use of spies.
Gaddis focuses on many of the important “actors” of the Cold War and he explains their significance to the escalation/de-escalation of the conflict. Gaddis argues that Pope John Paul II and Ronald Reagan were responsible for the fall of the Berlin Wall and the end of the Cold War. The examination of Reagan’s relationship with Gorbachev illustrates the impact the U.S. President had on the Soviet leader.
The Cold War attempts to cover the entire Cold War era in a very short book which means that Gaddis was forced to pick and choose what information he included. The book does not have a continuously flowing narrative, but rather, it jumps from theme to theme as he progresses through the work. This is not necessarily a criticism, but it can be disorienting for some new to the Cold War. Gaddis covers a tremendous amount of information in a fairly short work. For someone looking for a good overview of the Cold War, this book provides a good starting point for further study.
One of the final chapters, which Lewis dubbed 'Actors' deals with those personalities who, whether intentionally or not, contributed to the Soviet Union's demise. These figures obviously include Ronald Reagan and Mikhail Gorbachev, but Gaddis provides wonderful insights into the roles of Pope John Paul II, Lech Wa''sa, Deng Xiaoping, and others whose actions helped to topple the "Dark and Evil Empire" of the USSR.
The virtue of this work, its brevity, is also its greatest weakness. Certain events are glossed over rather quickly leaving the reader not fully appreciating their effects upon the larger stage of the Cold War. Watergate, the Suez Crisis, the Bay of Pigs, and even the Cuban Missile Crisis to name a few, simply don't get the time and consideration that they require for a truly thorough history. Gaddis uses just under 270 pages of text to tell an international history of over 45 years.
That said, if you are new to studying this era you will find a good overview here. Also, serious students will still be amazed at Gaddis' analysis of key points in the conflict, and his take on the Cold War as whole. I enjoyed and learned a lot from this book, I only wish it had been longer.
Gaddis writes on the origins of the Cold War dating beyond the Soviet and United States' respective war aims in the Second World War and into the competing ideologies, both political and economic. He writes on the inevitability of it, the terror, the geopolitics, the blunders. Gaddis misses nothing of consequence. Interestingly, he takes events, sometimes even "failures" in policy and shows the consequences to be quite different than originally interpreted by historians who, Gaddis maintains, might have been hindered by a lens of history too close to the event(s) itself. Certainly an interesting viewpoint.
A Cold War should be thought of as required reading for all students of 20th Century geopolitical history. Gaddis is perhaps a bit effacing in his comment that the book is "not a work of original scholarship" but rather a synthesizing narrative of much research already completed. While there is much truth to this, the reality is that Gaddis is the source of a mountain of research and America's leading authority of the period. One might think, quite incorrectly, that he would be the wrong one to pull it all together in a fascinating and readable account. He does a splendid job on all accounts. One could only hope that future historical authors and editors one read this and learn his technique of focusing on "each chapter on a significant theme" rather than a straight chronological report. As a result "they overlap in time and move across space". Quite simply his writing works and produces a very readable and highly interesting account of The Cold War.
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events the author could give only a few paragraphs or pages to.Read more