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
Open Preview

The Devil We Knew: Americans and the Cold War

3.67  ·  Rating details ·  72 Ratings  ·  10 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 August 1st 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)
Rating details
Sort: Default
Jul 30, 2011 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.
Apr 17, 2008 rated it liked it
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.
Lauren Albert
Mar 24, 2011 rated it liked it
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).
Chase Parsley
Jun 08, 2013 rated it it was ok
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.
Nov 29, 2009 rated it really liked it
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.
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 02, 2009 added it
I'm having to read this class for American Foreign Policy. My professor actually wrote it..
Jan 17, 2010 marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
The Devil We Knew: Americans and the Cold War by H. W. Brands (1993)
Mikayla Harden
May 13, 2015 rated it really liked it
Brent L.
rated it liked it
Sep 23, 2017
Warren Heaton
rated it it was amazing
Feb 27, 2014
rated it really liked it
Apr 03, 2018
rated it really liked it
Aug 11, 2012
rated it liked it
Dec 19, 2013
rated it really liked it
Jun 09, 2009
rated it really liked it
Sep 24, 2015
rated it it was amazing
Dec 11, 2016
rated it it was amazing
Mar 13, 2017
rated it really liked it
Nov 01, 2016
Alix Halloran
rated it really liked it
Apr 02, 2018
rated it really liked it
Jan 21, 2012
rated it it was ok
Apr 03, 2008
rated it really liked it
Jan 18, 2015
rated it it was ok
Aug 08, 2012
Shawn Warswick
rated it really liked it
Jan 22, 2016
rated it liked it
Apr 28, 2015
rated it it was amazing
Oct 07, 2013
rated it liked it
Mar 05, 2011
Nathan Scheer
rated it really liked it
Aug 03, 2016
rated it it was ok
Feb 01, 2012
« previous 1 3 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

Nonfiction Deals

  • Rumi: The Big Red Book: The Great Masterpiece Celebrating Mystical Love and Friendship
    $10.74 $1.99
  • I Will Teach You To Be Rich
    $13.95 $1.99
  • Innovation and Entrepreneurship
    $10.99 $2.99
  • The Hard Thing About Hard Things: Building a Business When There Are No Easy Answers
    $11.74 $2.99
  • Wherever You Go, There You Are
    $9.99 $2.99
  • I'm Just a Person
    $9.24 $1.99
  • Fire Season: Field Notes from a Wilderness Lookout
    $9.24 $1.99
  • The Public Library: A Photographic Essay
    $27.99 $4.99
  • The Unfettered Mind: Writings from a Zen Master to a Master Swordsman
    $12.99 $1.99
  • Murphy's Boy
    $7.99 $1.99
  • Real Happiness at Work: Meditations for Accomplishment, Achievement, and Peace
    $14.95 $1.99
  • The Heart of Meditation: Discovering Innermost Awareness
    $12.99 $1.99
  • My Year with Eleanor: A Memoir
    $9.49 $1.99
  • The Essential Rumi
    $10.24 $1.99
  • Texts from Jane Eyre: And Other Conversations with Your Favorite Literary Characters
    $11.99 $2.99
  • Tinseltown: Murder, Morphine, and Madness at the Dawn of Hollywood
    $10.74 $2.99
  • How Dogs Love Us: A Neuroscientist and His Adopted Dog Decode the Canine Brain
    $5.99 $1.99
  • The Rescue Artist: A True Story of Art, Thieves, and the Hunt for a Missing Masterpiece
    $8.24 $1.99
  • How to Travel with a Salmon & Other Essays (A Harvest Book)
    $14.99 $1.99
  • Out of Africa and Shadows on the Grass
    $11.99 $2.99
  • The War That Ended Peace: The Road to 1914
    $6.99 $2.99
  • No Limits: Blow the CAP Off Your Capacity
    $9.99 $2.99
  • Tubes: A Journey to the Center of the Internet
    $8.74 $1.99
  • Sex at Dawn: How We Mate, Why We Stray, and What It Means for Modern Relationships
    $10.49 $2.99
  • Slow Getting Up: A Story of NFL Survival from the Bottom of the Pile
    $8.24 $1.99
  • Castles of Steel
    $9.99 $1.99
  • Tibetan Peach Pie: A True Account of an Imaginative Life
    $9.74 $1.99
  • AWOL on the Appalachian Trail
    $3.99 $1.99
  • Hold On to Your Kids: Why Parents Need to Matter More Than Peers
    $14.99 $1.99
  • In the Beginning . . .: Science Faces God in the Book of Genesis
    $8.99 $1.99
  • The Way of a Pilgrim and The Pilgrim Continues His Way
    $14.99 $2.99
  • How to Talk So Teens Will Listen and Listen So Teens Will Talk
    $11.99 $1.99
  • Periodic Tales: A Cultural History of the Elements, from Arsenic to Zinc
    $12.74 $1.99