Losing Our Souls: The American Experience in the Cold War / Edition 1

Paperback (Print)
Buy New
Buy New from BN.com
Buy Used
Buy Used from BN.com
(Save 25%)
Item is in good condition but packaging may have signs of shelf wear/aging or torn packaging.
Condition: Used – Good details
Used and New from Other Sellers
Used and New from Other Sellers
from $1.99
Usually ships in 1-2 business days
(Save 84%)
Other sellers (Paperback)
  • All (17) from $1.99   
  • New (8) from $6.91   
  • Used (9) from $1.99   


"The cold war," Edward Pessen writes, "was the most unusual war the United States ever fought." It was by far the longest of all American wars, he explains, but it was not a shooting war, and it had neither a precise beginning or ending. It produced United States policies which were bold, dynamic, and unprecedented. The swiftest glance at recent events seems to establish that the United States achieved its chief objectives: amidst the debris of communism and the Soviet empire, the United States stands alone as the sole remaining superpower. Yet, Mr. Pessen asks, victory at what cost? While political observers ponder the Soviet collapse, and historians continue to debate the origins of the cold war, scarcely anyone has considered the profound changes it wrought in American society. Losing Our Souls is the first book to sum up the consequences of the cold war for Americans - the shifting ideals of our approach to international affairs; the building of our nuclear arsenal; the tactics used to combat "communist subversion" throughout the world and within the United States; the transformation of the American economy in response to security demands. Carefully reviewing the evidence, and writing with the authority of a distinguished historian, Mr. Pessen charges that American cold war policy has been disastrous for many of our cherished values and institutions. In a powerful indictment of American leadership, he accuses our cold war policymakers of engaging in deplorable activities and of misrepresenting them to the American people - all in the name of anticommunism. Losing Our Souls is an important book that challenges official appraisals and offers a different perspective on our cold war experience.
Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Pessen seeks to show that the arrogance of U.S. anti-Soviet policy during the Cold War, combined with the ``essential recklessness and mendacity'' of the domestic anticommunist crusade, corupted the moral fiber of our nation. He maintains that Soviet conduct, reprehensible though it may have been at times, never justified such behavior on our government's part as the numerous plots to assassinate foreign heads of state. The study offers an unusually lucid account of how the ``containment'' policy was hammered out in 1950 and codified in National Security Council Memorandum No. 68, which became the secret blueprint for anti-Soviet policy and ushered in the arms race and its attendant terrors. Pessen expertly traces the development of a Cold War political atmosphere in the U.S. that was ``congenial to the rise of men whose chief claim to prominence was their ability to exploit the nation's fear of communism,'' including leaders such as J. Edgar Hoover, Joseph McCarthy and Richard M. Nixon. The author's points are familiar, yet the cumulative effect of his argument is powerful and thought-provoking. The late Pessen ( Jacksonian America ) was a professor of history at the City University of New York. (Nov.)
Melvyn P. Leffler
A bold and provocative critique of U.S. policies. Some readers will be angered, others provoked, still others gratified.
Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781566630962
  • Publisher: Dee, Ivan R. Publisher
  • Publication date: 8/1/1995
  • Edition description: 1st Elephant paperback ed
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 257
  • Product dimensions: 5.36 (w) x 8.14 (h) x 0.68 (d)

Meet the Author

Edward Pessen was for many years Distinguished Professor of History at Baruch College and the Graduate School and University Center of the City University of New York. His best-known books are Most Uncommon Jacksonians and The Log Cabin Myth.

Read More Show Less

Table of Contents

Preface 11
I American Cold War Policy 19
II The Foreign Policy Principles of a Democratic Republic 28
III American Justifications for Waging the Cold War 45
IV Treating the Soviet Union as the Enemy 84
V Nuclear Bombs for Freedom 96
VI The Crusade Against 'Communist Subversion' at Home 128
VII Covert Operations Against International 'Communist Subversion' 165
VIII The Consequences of America's Cold War Policy 200
Epilogue: The Legacy of the Cold War 221
Notes 225
Index 246
Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Be the first to write a review
( 0 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star


4 Star


3 Star


2 Star


1 Star


Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Noble.com Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & Noble.com that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & Noble.com does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at BN.com or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation


  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & Noble.com and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Noble.com Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & Noble.com reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & Noble.com also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on BN.com. It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously

    If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
    Why is this product inappropriate?
    Comments (optional)