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The Cold War: A Very Short Introduction by…
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The Cold War: A Very Short Introduction (edition 2009)

by Robert J. McMahon (Author), Kevin Pariseau (Narrator)

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175367,867 (3.57)None
Member:timspalding
Title:The Cold War: A Very Short Introduction
Authors:Robert J. McMahon (Author)
Other authors:Kevin Pariseau (Narrator)
Info:Audible Studios (2009)
Collections:Your library
Rating:***
Tags:history, cold war, modern history, soviet union, wwii

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The Cold War: A Very Short Introduction by Robert J. McMahon

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Largely fine, this quick survey falls down in two critical ways. First, there's a persistent bias in focus and attribution, no doubt partially about the state of the sources, but still marked. The author seems to prefer different vocabularies and sentence structures to describe the US and the Soviet Union. The US tends to do things--often for the wrong reasons or bad motives--while such things merely take place, happen or occur with or around the Soviet Union. The US acts, but the Soviet Union more commonly reacts, responds or defends. The US acquires its various satellites intentionally, and mucks around with them unfairly; the Soviet Union just seems to have them, and is never seen to do much beyond "supporting" them. As Britain was once said to have done, the Soviet Union seems to "conquer half the world in a fit of absence of mind." Second, while the internal politics and motivations of the US and Soviet Union are dealt with in depth—anyway, depth appropriate to a short survey—China is treated as a mysterious, "inscrutable" power. ( )
1 vote timspalding | Mar 14, 2017 |
Not sure it qualifies as *very* short, at almost 170 pages, but it is a very nicely written summary of the geopolitical aspects of the cold war. As McMahon himself admits, the domestic repercussions of cold war foreign policies are less well known, and I found the chapter on these much more interesting than the other stuff; I just wish someone had done a bit more research on them. The cold war itself is more or less history in the sense of 'done with;' the horrific results of cold war thinking persist in any number of ways, and we won't understand them by endlessly debating whether Gorbachev or Reagan or John Paul II was the Great Man who ended the Evil Empire. McMahon inclines to the 'Gorbachev did it unwittingly' school of thought, which seems reasonable, and he doesn't talk about it much, for which we can be thankful. ( )
  stillatim | Dec 29, 2013 |
Concise and helpful ( )
  Harrod | Nov 28, 2008 |
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Explanations for the onset of the Cold War must begin with World War II.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0192801783, Paperback)

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.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:17:11 -0400)

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.--Publisher description.… (more)

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