The Cold War: A New History by John Lewis Gaddis


I’ve been reading bits and pieces of this book all semester for my history course. Though I assumed we’d read the whole book, we read all but one chapter. That just bugged me, so I sat down and read the last chapter so I could say with good conscience that I’d actually finished it. You can call me a nerd; I know it’s true.

Rating: [2/5]

Reading Challenge: A nonfiction book

Summary: For this book, Gaddis was asked to write a short but comprehensive guide to the Cold War. This book covers everything from the dropping of the bomb in 1945 to the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991. He focuses on how ideology shaped the actions of world leaders and impacted world history from a social, economic, and political standpoint.

Likes: This book really does have it all. Going into it, I did not have a good understanding of the Cold War. After reading it, I can definitely say that I have learned a lot about this important part of world history. I think it definitely did a good job of explaining how everything was tied together and how the cycle of fear continued for so long.

Dislikes: Because he focuses so much of ideology, the book is not in chronological order. For me, that was a bit confusing at first since I did not have much of an understanding of the Cold War. However, it shouldn’t be a problem if you are familiar with the topic. Additionally, the prose was a little dry and hard to get through at times.

TL;DR: I would definitely recommend this book to history buffs or anyone who is interested in studying the Cold War or modern history.


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