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Best Cold War Books: The Ultimate List

There are countless Cold War courses, tutorials, articles available online, but for some, having a book is still a necessity to learn. This is an up-to-date list of recommended books.

1. The Cold War: A New History (2006)

 Best Cold War Books: The Ultimate ListThe “dean of Cold War historians” (The New York Times) now presents the definitive account of the global confrontation that dominated the last half of the twentieth century. Drawing on newly opened archives and the reminiscences of the major players, John Lewis Gaddis explains not just what happened but why—from the months in 1945 when the U.S. and the U.S.S.R. went from alliance to antagonism to the barely averted holocaust of the Cuban Missile Crisis to the maneuvers of Nixon and Mao, Reagan and Gorbachev. Brilliant, accessible, almost Shakespearean in its drama, The Cold War stands as a triumphant summation…
Author(s): John Lewis Gaddis

2. The Spy and the Traitor: The Greatest Espionage Story of the Cold War (2019)

 Best Cold War Books: The Ultimate List“The best true spy story I have ever read.”—JOHN LE CARRÉ If anyone could be considered a Russian counterpart to the infamous British double-agent Kim Philby, it was Oleg Gordievsky. The son of two KGB agents and the product of the best Soviet institutions, the savvy, sophisticated Gordievsky grew to see his nation’s communism as both criminal and philistine. He took his first posting for Russian intelligence in 1968 and eventually became the Soviet Union’s top man in London, but from 1973 on he was secretly working for MI6. For nearly a decade, as the Cold War reached its…
Author(s): Ben Macintyre

3. Cold War: An International History (2017)

 Best Cold War Books: The Ultimate ListThe decades-long Cold War was more than a bipolar conflict between two Superpowers-it had implications for the entire world. In this accessible, comprehensive retelling, Carole K. Fink provides new insights and perspectives on key events with an emphasis on people, power, and ideas. Cold War goes beyond US-USSR relations to explore the Cold War from an international perspective, including developments in Africa, Asia, and Latin America. Fink also offers a broader time line of the Cold War than any other text, charting the lead-up to the conflict from the Russian Revolution to World War II and…
Author(s): Carole K. Fink

4. The Cold War: A Very Short Introduction (2003)

 Best Cold War Books: The Ultimate ListThe 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…
Author(s): Robert J. McMahon

5. The Global Cold War: Third World Interventions and the Making of Our Times (2007)

 Best Cold War Books: The Ultimate ListThe Cold War between the former Soviet Union and the United States indelibly shaped the world we live in today–especially international politics, economics, and military affairs. This volume shows how the globalization of the Cold War during the 20th century created the foundations for most of today’s key international conflicts, including the “war on terror.” Odd Arne Westad examines the origins and course of Third World revolutions and the ideologies that drove the U.S. and the U.S.S.R. towards interventionism. He focuses on how these…
Author(s): Odd Westad

6. The Clever Teen’s Guide to The Cold War (The Clever Teen Guides) (2017)

 Best Cold War Books: The Ultimate ListFrom the end of World War Two to the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991 the world lived within the shadow of the Cold War. For almost half a century the East and the West eyed each other with suspicion and often hostility. Two ideologies, two political systems, two cultures, two superpowers fought for dominance, each firm in the belief that history would prove them right.And all the time the threat of World War Three remained a distinct possibility, the spectre of nuclear weapons a constant fear.The Clever Teens’ Guide to The Cold War provides a concise…
Author(s): Felix Rhodes

7. America’s Cold War: The Politics of Insecurity (2012)

 Best Cold War Books: The Ultimate ListThe Cold War dominated world affairs during the half century following World War II. It ended in victory for the United States, yet it was a costly triumph, claiming trillions of dollars in defense spending and the lives of nearly 100,000 U.S. soldiers. Apocalyptic anti-communism sharply limited the range of acceptable political debate, while American actions overseas led to the death of millions of innocent civilians and destabilized dozens of nations that posed no threat to the United States.In a brilliant new interpretation, Campbell Craig and…
Author(s): Campbell Craig, Fredrik Logevall

8. The Dead Hand: The Untold Story of the Cold War Arms Race and Its Dangerous Legacy (2010)

 Best Cold War Books: The Ultimate ListThe first full account of how the Cold War arms race finally came to a close, this riveting narrative history sheds new light on the people who struggled to end this era of massive overkill, and examines the legacy of the nuclear, chemical, and biological weapons that remain a threat today. Drawing on memoirs, interviews in both Russia and the US, and classified documents from deep inside the Kremlin, David E. Hoffman examines the inner motives and secret decisions of each side and details the deadly stockpiles that remained unsecured as the Soviet…
Author(s): David Hoffman

9. Simple History: The Cold War (2016)

 Best Cold War Books: The Ultimate ListThe Iron Curtain and nuclear missiles. The Cold War was a scary situation. As the Capitalist West faced off against the Communist East, the world anticipated a nuclear showdown. Witness the Berlin Wall – a symbol of the great divide. See the Cold War conflicts. Be amazed at super spy gadgets, and marvel at the space race. Simple History, telling the story without information overload. #249,737 in Books (See Top 100 in Books) #66 in Children’s Modern History Would you like to ?If you are a seller for this product, would you like to ?…
Author(s): Daniel Turner

10. Origins of the Cold War: The Novikov, Kennan, and Roberts ‘Long Telegrams’ of 1946 (1993)

 Best Cold War Books: The Ultimate ListIn September 1946, the Soviet ambassador to the United States, Nikolai Novikov, sent a 19-page cable to Foreign Minister Molotov describing the likely direction of U.S. foreign policy in the postwar period. Recently discovered in the Soviet archives, the Novikov telegram parallels the famous “Long Telegram” of U.S. diplomat George Kennan.Published here for the first time in English, Novikov’s telegram is presented alongside Kennan’s cable and a similar telegram by British diplomat Frank Roberts. #595,506 in Books (See Top 100 in Books) #258 in Political Reference…
Author(s): Kenneth M. Jensen

11. The War State: The Cold War Origins Of The Military-Industrial Complex And The Power Elite, 1945-1963 (2013)

 Best Cold War Books: The Ultimate ListToday when you factor in the interest on the national debt from past wars and total defense expenditures the United States spends almost 40% of its federal budget on the military. It accounts for over 46% of total world arms spending. Before World War II it spent almost nothing on defense and hardly anyone paid any income taxes. You can’t have big wars without big government. Such big expenditures are now threatening to harm the national economy. How did this situation come to be? In this book you’ll learn how in the critical twenty years after World War II the United States changed from being a continental democratic…
Author(s): Michael Swanson

12. The Cold War: A History in Documents and Eyewitness Accounts (2004)

 Best Cold War Books: The Ultimate ListThe Cold War contains a selection of official and unofficial documents which provide a truly multi-faceted account of the entire Cold War era. The experiences of the East Berlin housewife are placed alongside those of the South African student; the participation of political leaders from Europe and the Third World stand juxtaposed. Not only does this book put a human face on the conflict, but it draws emphasis to the variety of ways in which this conflict was experienced. The final selection of documents illustrates the global impact of the Cold War to the present day, and establishes links between the Cold War and the…
Author(s): Jussi M. Hanhimaki, Odd Arne Westad

13. Latin America’s Cold War (2012)

 Best Cold War Books: The Ultimate ListFor Latin America, the Cold War was anything but cold. Nor was it the so-called “long peace” afforded the world’s superpowers by their nuclear standoff. In this book, the first to take an international perspective on the postwar decades in the region, Hal Brands sets out to explain what exactly happened in Latin America during the Cold War, and why it was so traumatic.Tracing the tumultuous course of regional affairs from the late 1940s through the early 1990s, Latin America’s Cold War delves into the myriad crises and turning points of the period―the Cuban revolution and its aftermath; the recurring…
Author(s): Hal Brands

14. The Cultural Cold War: The CIA and the World of Arts and Letters (2013)

 Best Cold War Books: The Ultimate ListDuring the Cold War, freedom of expression was vaunted as liberal democracy’s most cherished possession—but such freedom was put in service of a hidden agenda. In The Cultural Cold War, Frances Stonor Saunders reveals the extraordinary efforts of a secret campaign in which some of the most vocal exponents of intellectual freedom in the West were working for or subsidized by the CIA—whether they knew it or not.Called “the most comprehensive account yet of the [CIA’s] activities between 1947 and 1967” by the New York Times, the book presents…
Author(s): Frances Stonor Saunders

Best Cold War Books: The Ultimate List

We highly recommend you to buy all paper or e-books in a legal way, for example, on Amazon. But sometimes it might be a need to dig deeper beyond the shiny book cover. Before making a purchase, you can visit resources like Genesis and download some cold war books mentioned below at your own risk. Once again, we do not host any illegal or copyrighted files, but simply give our visitors a choice and hope they will make a wise decision.

The Man with the Poison Gun: A Cold War Spy Story

Author(s): Serhii Plokhy
ID: 2447669, Publisher: Basic Books, Year: 6 Dec 2016, Size: 2 Mb, Format: epub

Treason: Liberal Treachery from the Cold War to the War on Terrorism

Author(s): Ann Coulter
ID: 2322603, Publisher: Crown Forum, Year: 5 Oct 2004, Size: 329 Kb, Format: epub

The Spy in Moscow Station: A Counterspy’s Hunt for a Deadly Cold War Threat

Author(s): Eric Haseltine
ID: 2363491, Publisher: Thomas Dunne Books, Year: 30 Apr 2019, Size: 2 Mb, Format: epub

Please note that this booklist is not errorless. Some books are absolutely hot items according to Chicago Tribune, others are composed by unknown authors. On top of that, you can always find additional tutorials and courses on Coursera, Udemy or edX, for example. Are there any other relevant resources you could recommend? Leave a comment if you have any feedback on the list.

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