» » The Cold War: A Very Short Introduction

Download The Cold War: A Very Short Introduction epub

by Robert J. McMahon

The massive disorder and economic ruin following the Second World War inevitably predetermined the scope and intensity of the Cold War. But why did it last so long? And what impact did it have on the United States, the Soviet Union, Europe, and the Third World? Finally, how did it affect the broader history of the second half of the twentieth century--what were the human and financial costs? This Very Short Introduction provides a clear and stimulating interpretive overview of the Cold War, one that will both invite debate and encourage deeper investigation.About the Series: Combining authority with wit, accessibility, and style, Very Short Introductions offer an introduction to some of life's most interesting topics. Written by experts for the newcomer, they demonstrate the finest contemporary thinking about the central problems and issues in hundreds of key topics, from philosophy to Freud, quantum theory to Islam.
Download The Cold War: A Very Short Introduction epub
ISBN: 0192801783
ISBN13: 978-0192801784
Category: Other
Subcategory: Humanities
Author: Robert J. McMahon
Language: English
Publisher: Oxford University Press; Illustrated edition (July 10, 2003)
Pages: 200 pages
ePUB size: 1347 kb
FB2 size: 1676 kb
Rating: 4.5
Votes: 759
Other Formats: lit lrf txt rtf

According to McMahon, ‘The immediate roots of the Cold War, at least in broad, structural terms, lay in the intersection between a world rendered prostrate by a devastating global conflict and the conflicting recipes for international order that Washington and Moscow sought to impose on that pliable, war-shattered world. .......... In brief, it was the divergent aspirations, needs, histories, governing institutions, and ideologies of the United States and the Soviet Union that turned unavoidable tensions into the epic four-decade confrontation that we call the Cold War.’ (P.5) In effect, it was the mutual fear and distrust between superpowers that sparked off the confrontation. From the Korean War onwards, the nature of Soviet-American confrontation has changed from a systemic political competitions for the hearts and minds of people into an open, ideologically driven, militarized contest that without doubts, would threaten the very survival of the globe.

After all, this little book provides an excellent overview of the entire development of the Cold War, from the beginning up to the end. All major phases and events are covered with analysis.
Good, but not great. It was interesting to compare this to John Lewis Gaddis' "The Cold War, A History", which is a better book, I think. For instance, the big heroes of the end of the Cold War in Gaddis' book are Reagan, the Pope, and Lech Walesa, with Gorbachev sort of along for the ride. In this book, the hero is Gorbachev, Reagan is Along for the ride, and the Pope and Walesa are not mentioned at all. Gaddis' book has a bit of a right-wing slant, whereas this one has a bit of a left-wing slant, in particular, he tends to portray the Cold War as the-Soviet-Union-was-provoked-by-the-US. This book was very good through the 1970s (the coverage of colonial wars like Vietnam is particularly good), but then dipensed with the implosion of the Warsaw Pact and the Soviet Union very superficially - almost as if the author ran out of time. Worth reading, but get Gaddis' book too.
Lonesome Orange Kid
Many excellent books have been written about the Cold War, but if you're looking for a short, easy-to-digest summary of what the Cold War was all about and how it affected the course of world events, suitable for readers who have little or no background in history or political science, it's hard to beat this little gem. I would recommend this book to anyone who wants to get a quick overview of Cold War history without getting bogged down in the minute details of the subject. It would be perfect for high school and college students, or for anyone who would benefit from taking a simplified "big picture" look at the Cold War as a whole, rather than focusing closely on specific events within the Cold War era. (Personally, both as a student and as an educator, I've always found that it helps to have a simplified "big picture" overview of the subject as a whole before delving into the details. Though, of course, your mileage may vary.) If you want to get a quick "big picture" look at the Cold War, this book will give you exactly what you need. I plan to recommend it to any of my students who need to brush up on their Cold War history, and I may even consider assigning it as supplemental reading the next time I teach a course on foreign policy or international relations.
Trash Obsession
Robert J McMahon-The Cold War: A Very Short Introduction (OUP, 2003)

My last review was of John Prados-How the Cold War Ended: Debating and Doing History, entered under obus7 Promises too much, concluded: "Promises a lot, lets expect much. Does not deliver - still sounds like a few random events with a few decided whistle-blowers."

A much shorter opus does it in a bit over half a page, much shorter, but also much clearer. The key sentence is: By the time the Soviet Union collapsed, the Cold War was already history.

So the end dates read: 1989 German reunification, 1990 sovereign re-unified Germany in NATO under four Allied Powers treaty, 1991 Soviet collapse. A lot of action in a short time, but understanding the sequence is vital.

obus8 - Robert J McMahon-The Cold War: A Very Short Introduction (OUP, 2003) - 20/9/2012
Finding an unbiased and concise perspective on the Cold War is quite difficult to find in literature making McMahon's book quite impressive. Rather than regurgitating common theses, McMahon has an opinion but not a biased one. He directly criticizes both the United States and the USSR for treating the world as pawns in their chess game for hegemonic control and looks at the cost in terms of their real consequences--aka human, political, and economic costs. I highly recommend the book to anyone who needs a crash course in understanding the Cold War but doesn't want the Fox News or Karl Marx version of its history.
Lots of missing info. Good theory of geopolitical demands outweighed ideology. Big vocabulary words like denouement. Relevant today if polls are unchanged
The text is a clear timeliness of events, but wrapped up like a story. I would have rated it 5 stars if not for the MANY difficult words that slowed me down reading it.
A great, brief intro to the Cold War. I thought it was easy to follow. Purchased for a college class.