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The Cold War: A Very Short Introduction

(مقدمة قصيرة جداً #87)

3.82  ·  Rating details ·  833 ratings  ·  112 reviews
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 a ...more
Paperback, 185 pages
Published July 10th 2003 by Oxford University Press, USA (first published March 27th 2003)
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Average rating 3.82  · 
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 ·  833 ratings  ·  112 reviews


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Ahmad Sharabiani
The Cold War: A Very Short Introduction (Very Short Introductions #87), Robert J. McMahon

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
...more
Belhor
Oct 19, 2014 rated it liked it
Very analytical in style. Felt like reading a historic report. Didn't have the charm of a book like "One minute to midnight". But still interesting enough.
Ryan
Oct 26, 2013 rated it really liked it
This book was exactly what I hoped it would be: a brief summary of an event about which I knew almost nothing. This aptly-named "short introduction" is a great starting point for anyone looking to learn a bit about the Cold War. You won't learn every little detail about a 45-year conflict in a 165-page book, but it's a good place to start.

I would have liked to see a few more supplementary materials, such as lists of important dates, key players, more maps, etc. Being able to referenc
...more
Nate
May 15, 2019 rated it really liked it
I really enjoyed this book, it really established the trends and themes of the Cold War well. It summarized the drive of the United States to prevent communism from overtaking the Enlightenment ideal of liberty. I felt like the final chapter on the end of the Cold War was too brief, I wish that it went into greater depth on how the Cold War ended and who was involved in addition to Gorbachev and Reagan. A good line from the book describes the reasons behind the large change in Soviet foreign pol ...more
Sarah u
The Cold War is one of the best Very Short Introductions I have read. The book is easy to read but not simplistic, focusing on the superpower conflict between the USA and the Soviet Union as well as touching on events in the wider Cold War. The book also includes a detailed further reading section, index, and photographs throughout that accompany the text.

McMahon's book is an interesting work and worth reading. Those unfamiliar with the Cold War or in need/want of a quick refresh of the
...more
Pete
Jan 16, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: nonfiction, history
The Cold War: A Very Short Introduction (2003) by Robert McMahon is a good short introduction to the Cold War.

The book goes through the historical events of the Cold War in a solid and straightforward manner. It's also well written.

The book does exactly what it sets out to do and does it well.
Michael
Jan 27, 2019 rated it liked it
Robert J McMahon’s The Cold War: A Very Short Introduction is - ironically - one of the longer books in the Very Short Introduction series. By necessity a whistle-stop tour of the subject, McMahon is a thoughtful writer who provides a good overview of the subject and triggers interest in further areas of exploration.
Nick
Feb 02, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Highly recommended. One of the best VSI books I've read. Probably in part because its much longer than they usually are. But it does a good job at breaking the cold war down into a bunch of smaller conflicts. The book roughly goes chronologically, and focuses on different regions as the timelines goes on. In this way, we can see that the cold war is comprised of a series of smaller conflicts. He also does a good job explaining the grand strategic aspects of the conflict, and what each side's ove ...more
Bruce Baugh
Jan 04, 2015 rated it it was amazing
An altogether excellent book that thoroughly fulfills the promise of the Very Short Introduction series. McMahon brings together a careful survey of the historical record and current scholarly interpretations to trace the history of US-Soviet tensions from the waning days of World War II to the collapse of the Soviet Union. He does an excellent job offering insights into what it is the major participants thought they were doing, along with what they actually did, and while his focus is on the de ...more
Hajir Almahdi
Apr 12, 2015 rated it really liked it
At first I was skeptical of how something this short will cover a war that lasted for about half century, but it was an excellent, brief and an informing read.

Lalit Tomar
Dec 06, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I just love this idea of Very Short Introduction series. An subject expert introducing you to his subject in 120-150 pages of a booklet.
I actually wanted to know the after-story of WWII, but in short. So I thought this book will be a good idea to start with .

After all the destruction of War , the only economically well off country was USA. The development of nuclear changed the very concept of war .
World almost became bipolar, divided into believers of two different ideologies of development
...more
Robert
Jan 01, 2018 rated it really liked it
A clear, if slightly dry, account of the Cold War’s freeze and thaw. My two biggest takeaways:

(1) We often talk about the Cold War through the lens of personalities—Stalin, Nixon, JFK, Krushchev, etc.—when the underlying structural factors—viz., the Soviet Union’s fundamental desire to ensure that Germany would never threaten it again—were what determined the contours of the conflict and kept it going for decades.

(2) The great exception to the rule above was Mikhaïl Gorbachev. His s
...more
Yalin
Jan 27, 2019 rated it it was amazing
McMahon's work is - as the name suggests - a short but concise history of the Cold War, aimed at giving the reader a preliminary understanding of the major dynamics underlying the Cold War, whilst also providing the reader with a list of important names and events. Obviously, this work should not be thought of as an exhaustive source but rather as a stepping stone into the much larger and wilder world of the Cold War. I would recommend it to anyone who is looking for a source that would tell the ...more
Simon
Apr 20, 2018 rated it really liked it
Very readable introduction. Some scholarship lags eg we now know USA entered into secret agreement to remove Jupiter missiles from Turkey as part of the quid pro quo for USSR taking missiles out of Cuba.
Eric Sharpe
Oct 24, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Cold war introduction

The author sets out a broad outline of the key events it this period. It is a great place to start for those with a new interest in the history of these worldwide developments and highlights the fragility of world peace at the time.
Dale Neufeld
Dec 12, 2017 rated it really liked it
An accessible and brief introduction to the Cold War. If you’re looking for a basic understanding of just how global an issue the Cold War was, then this is a good place to start. Of course, each chapter alone could be a book this length, and so some people will be left with a lot of questions.
Kirsty
Nov 11, 2017 rated it liked it
handy read which goes over new GCSE content very handily adding in extra re wider world events to give me a bit of context
Rochelle Chukwuma
May 29, 2017 rated it really liked it
short, sweet, and nicely written. reading it made me want to become a history teacher so i could make students read and hopefully enjoy this book as well. lol
Robert Smith
Sep 07, 2018 rated it really liked it
Excellent introduction to the Cold War. Accessible but not simplistic. Longer than most in the 'Very Short...' series.
Jill Cordry
Oct 25, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Very informative!
Sian
Jul 22, 2019 rated it it was ok
I just finished it for the same week and i really enjoyed it. I loved how at first the story lines didn't seem to have anything to do with each other but slowly details were revealed to show how they are all connected.
Joseph Sverker
Absolutely a decent introduction to the events of the Cold War. It also gives some insights as to the significance of those events for the development of 20th century history, but I find something of that lacking still. The most interesting section was, for me, how the economic boom and consumer culture in many ways was a consequence of Cold War politics. To me it should be much more of that than to explain the political turns and meetings even if I of course understand that those couldn't be om ...more
Ramez Samir
Aug 18, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition


“The Cold War.” three words that has allot of drama within it, and one of history’s great dynamic intervals that even though it’s considered to be finished, still resonates on the present day. Allot of present day politics are shaped around this cold war drama, so it’s always good to get to know how it all began, persisted and came to fade. In this book the writer do achieve a great task in bringing the reader a small but a rich diet of knowledge considering this issue.

The writer s
...more
Justin Evans
Feb 19, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: history-etc
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 p ...more
Jason
Jan 24, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: library
for those who believe Reagan was the hero of the Cold War: you must read this book. Your beloved Gipper did more to harm relations between the Soviet Union and US during his first term than any of his predecessors. Only after overwhelming (hundreds of thousands of protesters and foreign heads of state) domestic and foreign opposition (and the very real fear of not being re-elected) to his increased military spending and nuclear stockpiling did he decide adopt a less confrontational tone. Had And ...more
Daniel Wright
The Cold War, as soon as one attempts to actually study it, turns out to be fearsomely complicated and controversial, not least because of all too many ideological motives behind many of the arguments. The author of this volume deserves credit for getting so much material into so little space, although no doubt there are plenty of his colleagues out there who would disagree with much of his analysis.
Eleanor
Feb 24, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: historical
Unlike Gaddis this book just seems to stick to the pure historical facts - rather than imagining potential situations that could have occurred had history been different...
This said, it was still a very enjoyable book to read; it simplified the facts and was very quotable. A good insight into the Cold War if you don't know much else about it.
Harish Puvvula
Jan 18, 2012 rated it really liked it
This book is lean but packs quite a punch! Unbiased portrayal of the scenarios that led to cold war. Insecurity and some poor diplomacy lay at the heart of the cold war. Haven't read a simpler book than this about cold war. Kudos!
Sara Levine
Aug 08, 2015 rated it really liked it
Well-written and appropriately detailed short introduction to the Cold War. Organized well and easy to understand, this would be a great resource for anyone trying to learn the basics of the Cold War.
Drift
Jan 05, 2009 rated it it was amazing
This is a really good read. If you like history or politics this is a concise run through of the events of the cold war. It may be small but it covers a lot. It does not claim that Ronald Reagan won the cold war but rather rightfully in my opinion makes Gorbachev out to be more of the hero.
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A specialist in the history of U.S. foreign relations, Robert J. McMahon is professor of history at Ohio State University. He previously taught at the University of Florida and has held visiting positions at the University of Virginia and University College Dublin.

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مقدمة قصيرة جداً (3 books)
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