Children's LiteratureShortly after the conclusion of the Second World War the rapport between the capitalist and communist nations that allied themselves together to defeat the Axis Powers crumbled. Political divisions linked to differing worldviews spawned a five-decade confrontation that has been labeled as the Cold War. During those years, the military forces of nations such as the United States, Great Britain and the remaining NATO countries stood poised to go to war against the Soviet Union and the Warsaw Pact. In Asia, the People's Republic of China emerged as a geopolitical threat to Western interests. Proxy wars were fought in places like Korea, Vietnam and Angola as the superpowers remained on the edge of thermonuclear destruction. In the end, the Cold War resulted in the splintering of Soviet influence and a new age of varied rather than monolithic threats to world peace. Here, in the introductory volume of "The Cold War" series, readers are provided a starting point for understanding a complicated and far-reaching historical epoch. Stewart Ross combines an informative and readable text with many illustrations, thus providing an excellent launch point for the study of this intricate period in world history. 2002, World Almanac Library, $29.27. Ages 10 to 14. Reviewer: Greg M. Romaneck
School Library Journal - School Library JournalGr 5-8-Causes covers the Cold War's ideological roots in the opposing economic systems of the U.S. and the U.S.S.R., the decline in relations between the two countries at the end of World War II, the Truman Doctrine, the Korean War, and the slight easing of tensions following Stalin's death. End discusses the close of the conflict, covering the rise and fall of d tente; the revival of animosities during the late 1970s and early 1980s; the "proxy" conflicts in Afghanistan, Africa, and Central America; Gorbachev's attempted reforms; and the collapse of the Soviet empire. Each book has numerous sidebars about events, organizations, and people, and captioned color and black-and-white photos appear on almost every page. Both authors are largely objective, emphasizing the mutual distrust, fear, and missed opportunities that characterized the era. While these books mention many events and provide some analysis, they are too brief to include the background material and in-depth coverage that would really help students understand this lengthy and often complex conflict. Major events often receive only a paragraph or two, and much of End reads like an annotated time line. Most libraries will be better served with the more comprehensive coverage found in James A. Warren's Cold War: The American Crusade Against World Communism 1945-1991 (Lothrop, 1996) and Earle Rice, Jr.'s outstanding The Cold War: Collapse of Communism (Lucent, 2000), which describes and analyzes the factors that led to the collapse of the Soviet empire.-Mary Mueller, Rolla Junior High School, MO Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
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