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The Cold War: A World History

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The Cold War: A World History

By Professor of International History Odd Arne Westad

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Format: Hardcover, 720 pages
Published In: United States, 01 September 2017
From a Bancroft Prize-winning scholar, a new global history of the Cold War and its ongoing impact around the world We tend to think of the Cold War as a bounded conflict: a clash of two superpowers, the United States and the Soviet Union, born out of the ashes of World War II and coming to a dramatic end with the collapse of the Soviet Union. But in this major new work, Bancroft Prize-winning scholar Odd Arne Westad argues that the Cold War must be understood as a global ideological confrontation, with early roots in the Industrial Revolution and ongoing repercussions around the world. In The Cold War, Westad offers a new perspective on a century when great power rivalry and ideological battle transformed every corner of our globe. From Soweto to Hollywood, Hanoi, and Hamburg, young men and women felt they were fighting for the future of the world. The Cold War may have begun on the perimeters of Europe, but it had its deepest reverberations in Asia, Africa, and the Middle East, where nearly every community had to choose sides. And these choices continue to define economies and regimes across the world. Today, many regions are plagued with environmental threats, social divides, and ethnic conflicts that stem from this era. Its ideologies influence China, Russia, and the United States; Iraq and Afghanistan have been destroyed by the faith in purely military solutions that emerged from the Cold War. Stunning in its breadth and revelatory in its perspective, this book expands our understanding of the Cold War both geographically and chronologically, and offers an engaging new history of how today's world was created.

About the Author

Odd Arne Westad is the S. T. Lee Professor of US-Asia Relations at Harvard University. The author and editor of eleven books, Westad lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

Reviews

"For generations, the Cold War was context, the inescapable setting of political life. This history sets the Cold War itself in context, within the greater landscape of world history, deeply understood, and masterfully presented. It is a powerful synthesis by one of our great historians."--Timothy Snyder, author of Bloodlands "Arne Westad provides a powerful analysis of why the Cold War occurred, what it meant, and why it still matters. He is especially strong in elucidating the ideas of perfection that drove very imperfect, often brutal, leaders. Westad's book links the Cold War to globalization, recent wars in the Middle East, and American rivalries with Russia and China. This is a book that everyone interested in politics and foreign policy should read. It is a riveting story, told by one of the foremost world historians."--Jeremi Suri, author of The Impossible Presidency "Thanks to Arne Westad, we can no longer think of the Cold War as a two-player game. Westad gives us a new history of the rivalry between capitalism and communism, tracing its origins back to the 1890s and showing that it had a kind of afterlife beyond the 1990s. No one can match his ability to illuminate the linkages between the Washington-Moscow rivalry that was the Cold War's fissile core and the multiple "hot" wars that, on the periphery, constituted the Third World's War."--Niall Ferguson, Hoover Institution, Stanford, and author of Kissinger, 1923-1968 "Today, western attempts to contain radical Islamism continue an us-and-them mentality. Angry Muslims decry the perceived depredations of US imperialism and the infidel free market; the threat posed by suicide bombers makes the old east-west rivalries look almost manageable by comparison. Westad's huge, single-volume history is the beginning of wisdom in these things."--Guardian undefined--Wall Street Journal "Rich with details drawn from archival research and interviews with politicians, soldiers, scientists and others who lived through the cold war.... Westad, a specialist on China as well as on the cold war, adds a valuable dimension with chapters on Asian countries and Latin America.... [An] ambitious study, perspicacious and panoramic in scope."--Financial Times "[A] fast-paced narrative peppered with delightful snippets from a broad range of sources... this volume should sit on the bookshelf of every home as a constant reminder of how stupidity, ignorance and arrogance almost brought the world to annihilation. With the personification of all three traits now squatting in the White House, this book has real and current value."--South China Morning Post "A clear and well-written summary of a global conflict... an impressive book."--The Times "Rather than offering a straightforward historical overview, The Cold War delves much deeper, examining the philosophies underpinning the conflicting ideologies and the influence the systems had on their societies and economies. These complex ideas are written with great clarity and confidence, giving readers an exciting prose that only occasionally feels turgid through detail.... The book is a sobering opportunity to allow the recent history to give perspective to our own times and the dangerous ideas that persist."--Entertainment Focus "[A] riveting historical compendium."--Independent "Westad balances the grim nature of his study with sometimes thrilling insights and constantly lively, almost conversational prose. Even in a book-market glutted with Russia-centered histories, this one stands out."--Open Letters Monthly "Arne Westad has produced a grand narrative of the Cold War. Defining it as a struggle between capitalism and socialism as well as a bipolar international system, he brilliantly illustrates its ideological, geopolitical, technological, and economic dimensions. Westad, the world's foremost scholar of the Cold War, once again dazzles readers with the scope and depth of his analysis."--Melvyn P. Leffler, Professor of American History, University of Virginia "Westad argues that the Cold War made the world what it is today. Reading this fine history, it's difficult to disagree with him. This is one of the best histories ever written on the Cold War."--Omnivoracious "A sweeping study.... In astute, thematic chapters, Bancroft Award-winning historian Westad offers an excellent sense of the ideological conflicts fulminating since the late 19th century that formed the crux of the Cold War.... This is an enormous story, and the author tackles it with admirable clarity and elegance.... A tremendous and timely history lesson for our age."--Kirkus Reviews, starred review "[Westad] ably synthesizes contemporary scholarship to produce an accessible narrative that provides a fresh perspective on the conflict's pervasive global influence... an impressive feat that will be appreciated by scholars, students, and general readers."--Publishers Weekly "This significant history is told with verve and spirit... An essential book for all collections and one of the best written so far on the Cold War."--Library Journal "In many ways, Westad has long argued, the Cold War made the world what it is today. His latest book is an eloquent and enjoyable defense of that proposition."--Foreign Policy Publishers Weekly: "[Westad] ably synthesizes contemporary scholarship to produce an accessible narrative that provides a fresh perspective on the conflict's pervasive global influence... an impressive feat that will be appreciated by scholars, students, and general readers." Library Journal: "This significant history is told with verve and spirit... An essential book for all collections and one of the best written so far on the Cold War." Foreign Policy: "In many ways, Westad has long argued, the Cold War made the world what it is today. His latest book is an eloquent and enjoyable defense of that proposition."

EAN: 9780465054930
ISBN: 0465054935
Publisher: Basic Books
Dimensions: 23.62 x 16.26 x 5.59 centimetres (1.00 kg)
Age Range: 15+ years
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