The Cold War: A World History (Paperback)

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The definitive history of the Cold War and its 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 and author and editor of eleven books, including The Global Cold War, recipient of the Bancroft Prize, and Restless Empire, recipient of the Asia Society book award. He lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

Praise For…

"[An] epic account...One reason Mr. Westad's
narrative is so strong is its use of fresh archival sources from across the
globe...How Big Was the Cold War? is easy to answer: It was huge, as this book
demonstrates, not only because of the perilous stakes but also because of the
size of the two main actors. How Deep Was the Cold War? is also easy to answer,
and Mr. Westad does that so very well, showing how it reached into so many
places in the world that were a long way from the Berlin Wall."—Wall Street Journal

"[A] big, serious, and thoroughly intelligent
stud[y] of the cold war."—New York Review of Books

"An account of the Cold War that is truly
global in its scope... a wise and observant history... It also arrives at a
moment when we must grasp the dynamics of the Cold War if we want to understand
some of today's most urgent developments, from North Korea's acquisition of
long-range nuclear missiles to the rise of socialist movements in Western
democracies."—New Republic

"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, Best Books of 2017

"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

"[A] riveting historical compendium."—Independent

"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, starredreview

"The Cold War evinces a lifetime of research and thought on the subject. Compelling ideas and valuable insights appear frequently."—National Interest

"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

"A clear and well-written summary of a global
conflict... an impressive book."—The Times

"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

"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

"[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

"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

"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] 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

"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, Professorof American History, University of Virginia

"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, HooverInstitution, Stanford, and author of Kissinger, 1923-1968

"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

"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
Product Details
ISBN: 9781541674097
ISBN-10: 154167409X
Publisher: Basic Books
Publication Date: October 15th, 2019
Pages: 720
Language: English