Customer Reviews for

The Cold War: A New History

Average Rating 4.5
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Most Helpful Favorable Review

1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

Great Comprehensive Read

I really love the thematic layout of the book. Rather than trying to explain the cold war chronologically, Gaddis does a wonderful job in separating each aspect of the cold war so that the big picture, along with each aspect of events, is easier to understand. He really...
I really love the thematic layout of the book. Rather than trying to explain the cold war chronologically, Gaddis does a wonderful job in separating each aspect of the cold war so that the big picture, along with each aspect of events, is easier to understand. He really captures the mood and thoughts of both sides of the war. I particularly liked his "alternate ending" of the conflict in Korea that put into perspective how close we really were to a third World War. Great read, great cold war "crash course". Also, great citations in the back for further study. Highly recommended.

posted by melissagalatas on November 27, 2010

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Most Helpful Critical Review

1 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

Cold War

The graetest asset of this work by Professor Gaddis is in that it does not limit itself to a simple narrative of events but it seeks, and reveals causal relationships across the time horizon. I find it, however, misleading to maintain that the Cold War was purely a stru...
The graetest asset of this work by Professor Gaddis is in that it does not limit itself to a simple narrative of events but it seeks, and reveals causal relationships across the time horizon. I find it, however, misleading to maintain that the Cold War was purely a struggle between two competing ideologies, authoritative regime against democracy, command economy against free markets. I believe that the underlying cause was Russian grab for power, the classic Russian imperialism that remains the same whether wearing a White coat, a Red coat, or, at present, a Putin-coat. After all, the Red Tzars in Kremlin enjoyed a large popular support only because no other Tzars before achieved Russian superpower status. As for China, the underlying causes were similar. Thus, the ideology was a convenient tool, an effective weapon, but not the cause itself.

posted by JardaJU on December 22, 2009

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  • Posted November 27, 2010

    Great Comprehensive Read

    I really love the thematic layout of the book. Rather than trying to explain the cold war chronologically, Gaddis does a wonderful job in separating each aspect of the cold war so that the big picture, along with each aspect of events, is easier to understand. He really captures the mood and thoughts of both sides of the war. I particularly liked his "alternate ending" of the conflict in Korea that put into perspective how close we really were to a third World War. Great read, great cold war "crash course". Also, great citations in the back for further study. Highly recommended.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 22, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Cold War

    The graetest asset of this work by Professor Gaddis is in that it does not limit itself to a simple narrative of events but it seeks, and reveals causal relationships across the time horizon. I find it, however, misleading to maintain that the Cold War was purely a struggle between two competing ideologies, authoritative regime against democracy, command economy against free markets. I believe that the underlying cause was Russian grab for power, the classic Russian imperialism that remains the same whether wearing a White coat, a Red coat, or, at present, a Putin-coat. After all, the Red Tzars in Kremlin enjoyed a large popular support only because no other Tzars before achieved Russian superpower status. As for China, the underlying causes were similar. Thus, the ideology was a convenient tool, an effective weapon, but not the cause itself.

    1 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 27, 2010

    Cliff Notes for the Cold War

    The Cold War is a great book for those who have no memory of the Cold War, and for those who do, it is a well written and engaging synopsis. Although it is a "history" book, it is a fast read. Bring along a pencil and paper however; the book is not written in chronological order. A great introduction to post World War II history for High Schoolers or a 100-200 level college history class.

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  • Posted December 12, 2009

    The Cold War Is Too Short

    When you try to cover the entire Cold War in 352 pages, the author has to make choices what to include and what to omit. I found some of the choices strange, e.g., little on the Cuban Missile Crisis and more on Watergate. That said, there was a considerable amount of new information included in the book. The organization is more theme-based than chronological which sometimes makes it more difficult to parse out the sequence of events.

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  • Posted August 1, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    Great overview - good for those with a history background

    Bought for my six-yr-old, who has some history background but had some gaps in his education. He loved the book, and when he recognized gaps he looked various items up. The book worked well for him. (I personally haven't gotten to it yet ...). Other books and DVDs recommended by the Man are listed below.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 6, 2009

    Enlightening look at the full breadth of the Cold War.

    I came of age during the late 70's and early 80's. I studied the Cold War during that time in college, so it was wonderful (and a bit alarming!) to read about it as "history". It was very insightful to go back to the "start" of the Cold War- the end of WW II. I recommend this book to anyone who has read about WW II. It enlightens one on the continuation of that conflict, and how exhausted politicians and nations can inadvertantly precipatate further problems once they've "won" a war.

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  • Posted February 17, 2009

    Good reading

    I bought this book for my 15 year old daughter who loves History and specifically asked for it for Christmas. She plans to major in History and loved this book. Highly recommend it.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 15, 2008

    Well worth the time

    You can tell that the author is an expert in cold war history, and one appreciates being able to get such a masterful telling of the history in such a condensed way. Even though it is relatively short, you do not feel as if you are missing anything important.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 9, 2006

    Scholarly, but Flawed

    OVERVIEW. A fascinating and scholarly narrative of that traumatic period¿fascinating in what it discerns about individual ¿actors¿ on the precarious world stage, and scholarly in its inclusion of relevant historical factors. Yet, being fascinating and scholarly¿rather than comprehensive and analytical¿poses enough systematic flaws to make it only one of many books, now or yet to be, about the Cold War. The book is a cornucopia of useful information about excruciating events during nearly a half-century of near worldwide disaster. _____ ATOMIC BOMBINGS. Professor Gaddis sets the scene rightfully with the conditions that led to, evolved with, and ended World War II, including the atomic bombings of Japan. (Gaddis, though, does not demonstrate that war might have been ended just as quickly without the bombings.) _____ COLD WAR. For nearly the half-century that followed, much of humanity was indeed impacted with struggles over national boundaries, ideological politicization, grand scheming, and simple survival. Gaddis tracks the Cold War evolution by focusing on key personalities, such as Stalin, Churchill, Truman, Eisenhower, and Kennedy. He recalls the influence of Marx, Lenin, Roosevelt, and Wilson. Khrushchev and Gorbachev both had major roles on the big stage, as did Chang and Mao, Johnson and Nixon, Kennan and Kissinger. Lesser appearances were by Castro, De Gaulle, Sadat, Walesa, Thatcher, and Havel. In fact, roles for many leaders are highlighted. _____ THE POPE AND REAGAN. One reservation would be about disproportional credit given to Pope John Paul II and President Reagan in terms of reversing Cold War trends. As pictured by Gaddis, the Pope¿s appearances are likely to be gratifying to Catholics, and Reagan¿s role will satisfy neoconservatives. _____ REAGAN¿S BELLICOSITY. While some of Reagan¿s recitals and visions as President were conciliatory, his words were more than offset by bellicose and risky governmental directives. He brandished weapons and threats, along with unfounded accusations that the Soviets were violating international treaties. Reagan decided to store neutron weapons in Europe and repeated his controversial opinion that tactical nuclear weapons could be used in Europe without igniting an all-out nuclear war. He pushed for Pershing-II and nuclear-armed cruise-missile deployment in Western Europe. Although he resumed START-I negotiations, no appreciable progress was made during his eight years in office. Early in his presidency, Reagan publicly labeled the Soviet Union an ¿evil empire,¿ and exhibited a righteous contempt of the antiauthoritarian nuclear ¿Freeze¿ movement. He was sold on unilateral ballistic missile defense (SDI), a nearly impossible dream. In 1983, he asked Congress to support the destabilizing MX multiple-warhead missile program. Reagan rejected an opportunity for a nuclear-test moratorium, and he presided over a massive increase in U.S. military expenditures. _____ THE ILLUSIONIST. It is very difficult to reconcile those Presidential actions (in contrast to facile words or divined intentions) with Gaddis¿s position that Reagan ¿was the only nuclear abolitionist ever to have been president of the United States,¿ and that Reagan was ¿one of the sharpest grand strategists ever.¿ Perhaps it would be better to describe Reagan as `one of the sharpest grand illusionists ever.¿ Therein lies an analytical flaw in ¿A New History.¿ Despite the book¿s constructive contributions, it seems more like a general¿s view, not one from the trenches and battlegrounds. The massive public and intellectual protests against Reaganite policies and self-indulgences are kept in the distant background. _____ TOP-CENTRIC. As you might also observe, Gaddis¿s treatment of Cold War history is top-centric (which, for me, was frankly the most interesting and insightful aspect of his book). But such emphasis on the cult of leadership results in little or no attention to sociological and in

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 20, 2006

    twisted period

    Thought provocating, nice work, though one should look beyond. Our world is fast changing,both opportunities and challenges. I just read a new book China's global reach by george zhibin gu, which gives a powerful view on current global affairs. A must read.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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