Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Devil We Knew: Americans and the Cold War” as Want to Read:
The Devil We Knew: Americans and the Cold War
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating

The Devil We Knew: Americans and the Cold War

3.52 of 5 stars 3.52  ·  rating details  ·  42 ratings  ·  9 reviews
In the late 1950s, Washington was driven by its fear of communist subversion: it saw the hand of Kremlin behind developments at home and across the globe. The FBI was obsessed with the threat posed by American communist party--yet party membership had sunk so low, writes H.W. Brands, that it could have fit "inside a high-school gymnasium," and it was so heavily infiltrated ...more
Paperback, 256 pages
Published October 20th 1994 by Oxford University Press, USA (first published September 30th 1993)
more details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about The Devil We Knew, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about The Devil We Knew

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 100)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  rating details
Lauren Albert
The book could have been a four star for me if it weren't for the author's sarcasm. I couldn't figure out why it bothered me so much until I realized it was because it showed arrogance--an "I don't have to convince you because my correctness is so obvious" attitude. It was an otherwise interesting look at how Americans came to see the world in black and white (or communist or non-communist).
Not something I'd read of my own choosing, but it was interesting and informative. Many of the events mentioned in passing by the author I wish he would have explained at least the basics of, like the Iran-contra affair. I simply had no knowledge of them whatsoever, besides maybe hearing the name once or twice.
Jul 30, 2011 Yvonne added it
One of my favorite historians. I really enjoy his wit and approach to the Cold War. One of my favorite lines was "...Most Americans didn't want to see Reagan disgraced (after Iran-Contra). He was a nice old man, entirely unlike that shifty Richard Nixon..."

Thoroughly enjoyable, informative read.
This is a lucid and engaging account of American history during the Cold War period. Brands writes with a great deal of wit and jam-packs a ton of info into a relatively short volume. While the density of the text made it a little slower going than usual for me, it was entirely worth it.
Chase Parsley
I revisited this book - I read much of it in college and sat down and read the whole thing again. I was unimpressed. Brands comes off as dull and it reads like a dry textbook. Style points aside, it is very well researched and covers the basics.
A brief but good summation of the cause of the Cold War and its perpetuation. Very balanced. Brands notes the impact of the Cold War not only on foreign relations and the military, but on the economy and civil rights.
Feb 26, 2009 Kelsey added it
I'm having to read this class for American Foreign Policy. My professor actually wrote it..
Jan 17, 2010 Brenden marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
The Devil We Knew: Americans and the Cold War by H. W. Brands (1993)
good, short survey of US foreign policy during the cold war
Caitlin Isyourmum
Caitlin Isyourmum marked it as to-read
Mar 04, 2015
Ricardo Perez
Ricardo Perez marked it as to-read
Feb 18, 2015
Steven H
Steven H marked it as to-read
Dec 26, 2014
Gary Hanes
Gary Hanes marked it as to-read
Dec 08, 2014
Vince marked it as to-read
Oct 26, 2014
Chidozem marked it as to-read
Aug 31, 2014
Blake Jones
Blake Jones marked it as to-read
Jul 23, 2014
Jerome marked it as to-read
Jun 21, 2014
Megan marked it as to-read
Jun 07, 2014
Raeann marked it as to-read
May 12, 2014
Andreia marked it as to-read
Aug 14, 2014
Owlseyes marked it as to-read
Feb 16, 2014
Keaton marked it as to-read
Feb 06, 2014
Donna marked it as to-read
Jan 18, 2014
Rhitik Jassar
Rhitik Jassar marked it as to-read
Jan 18, 2014
« previous 1 3 4 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
Henry William Brands was born in Portland, Oregon, where he lived until he went to California for college. He attended Stanford University and studied history and mathematics. After graduating he became a traveling salesman, with a territory that spanned the West from the Pacific to Colorado. His wanderlust diminished after several trips across the Great Basin, and he turned to sales of a differen ...more
More about H.W. Brands...
The First American: The Life and Times of Benjamin Franklin Andrew Jackson: His Life and Times Traitor to His Class: The Privileged Life and Radical Presidency of Franklin Delano Roosevelt The Man Who Saved the Union: Ulysses Grant in War and Peace T.R.: The Last Romantic

Share This Book