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The Cold War Encyclopedia

The Cold War Encyclopedia

by Thomas Parrish

Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
The ending of the Cold War has signaled the arrival of new reference works devoted to explicating this complex 50-year saga. Thomas Arms's Encyclopedia of the Cold War (LJ 10/15/94) has set the standard for all future reference volumes on this topic, and for the most part Parrish's suffers in comparison. Where the two encyclopedias cover the same material, Arms provides longer essays. Moreover, Arms attaches short bibliographies to each essay, a nice feature omitted by Parrish. Both encyclopedias include items not found in the other, and Parrish adds a useful chronology that begins with the 1917 Russian Revolution. Parrish, a historian and author of Roosevelt and Marshall (LJ 9/15/89), also begins his work with an interesting historiographical essay, which might prove beneficial to those interested in that aspect of the topic. Overall, if a library has money for only one encyclopedia on the Cold War, buy Arms. If money is not an object, then Parrish's work can complement Arms.-Ed Goedeken, Iowa State Univ. Lib., Ames
Zom Zoms
Parrish, the author of many popular books on history, presents us with an alphabetical assemblage of about 700 short entries for people (both expected, such as Khrushchev, Churchill, and Kim Philby, and unexpected, such as Camus); events (Prague Spring, Tet Offensive); planes (A-26, MiG-15); missiles (Thor, Minuteman); programs (Marshall Plan); concepts (perestroika); and countries (Grenada) involved in any manner with the cold war. This is followed by a chronology beginning with the rise of the Soviet state in 1917 through the resignation of Gorbachev on Dec. 25, 1991. Designed for the general reader as well as for the student, entries are short, readable, and frequently provide cross-references to entries covering other facets of the topic. In addition, there are "see also" references at the ends of some entries While some entries include quotes, none is directly identified as to source and there is no bibliography. Illustrations include line-drawn maps and black-and-white photographs. Parrish also provides an index and what he calls a "discussion," "The Cold War: Writers and Readers," meant as an introduction not to the book itself but to the "great amount and variety of writing that scholars, journalists, and political and military leaders" have produced about this period, although no specific sources are mentioned Coming relatively soon after two other similar titles, "Encyclopedia of the Cold War" ["RBB" O 1 94] and the three-volume "The Cold War, 19451991" ["RBB" Ag 93], this book compares quite well. It has more than a page concerning the recent Aldrich Ames case (not included in either of the others) and adds information on the Rosenberg case. "The Cold War, 19451991" has the smallest number of entries although they are the longest, and it is more cumbersome to use; it includes a chronology, a narrative history, and a list of archives. "The Cold War Encyclopedia" entries are shorter than those in the "Encyclopedia of the Cold War", but it includes many entries on specific planes and weapons not found in the other. "Encyclopedia of the Cold War" has reading lists following many entries and a bibliography arranged by broad topic The primary concern we have with "The Cold War Encyclopedia" is its lack of documentation; other than statements that the newly opened Soviet archives were used, no sources are given. Nevertheless, it includes items not found in either of the other titles on this subject (and vice versa), so it complements but doesn't replace them. Public libraries will want to consider adding this title.

Product Details

Holt, Henry & Company, Inc.
Publication date:
A Henry Holt Reference Book
Edition description:
1st ed

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