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Cold Warriors: Writers Who Waged the Literary Cold War
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Cold Warriors: Writers Who Waged the Literary Cold War

4.31  ·  Rating details ·  52 ratings  ·  17 reviews

'White handles hefty quantities of research effortlessly, combining multiple biographies with a broader overview of the period. His energetic, anecdote-laden prose will have you hooked all the way from Orwell to le Carré' Sunday Times , Books of the Year

'Cold Warriors reads like a thriller . . . ambitious, intelligent, searching history' The Times

In this age of 24-hour

Kindle Edition, 752 pages
Published August 29th 2019 by Little, Brown Book Group (first published 2019)
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Bert Hirsch
Oct 02, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Cold Warriors by Duncan White

Duncan White is a lecturer in both history and literature at Harvard University and his new book, Cold Warriors: Writers Who Waged the Literary Cold War, is a worthwhile read for anyone with these dual interests. It roughly covers the span from the Spanish Civil war to the fall of the Berlin War and the Soviet Union. It depicts the unique role writers played in the ongoing struggle for dominance between the Western capitalist societies and the Socialist sphere
Aug 12, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: edelweiss
Duncan White's Cold Warriors is an engrossing history of the writers who wielded their pen for political ends and how their governments promoted or silenced them during the Cold War.

The war was a conflict of ideas and books were used as weapons to attack political ideologies by writers on both sides of the Iron Curtain. Some authors were spies while others unknowingly worked for CIA-funded publications. Writers resistant to government policy and programs were silenced, punished, imprisoned or

The Guardian recently published a phenomenal review of Duncan White's Cold Warriors. Here is the link: Duncan White
Peter Goodman

“Cold Warriors: writers who waged the literary Cold War,” by Duncan White (Custom House, 2019). The Cold War---and before that, even before the Bolshevik Revolution---was a war of ideas, and for much of it the Communists seemed to have the better ideas. About how to organize society, provide for the people, how to govern, etc. Because it was about ideas, the people who trafficked in thought and imagination had strategic and tactically important roles. Literature, to use a modern term, was
Peter Wise
Nov 10, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is an extensive history of how the West and the Soviet Union influenced, directed and duped writers of either side of the ideological divide, beginning with the Spanish Civil War and ending with the dissolution of the USSR in the 1990s. There are really no surprises chronicled here, no spectacular revelations about how governments seek to implement policy through culture but it's a really good read despite the length. While I also sensed in advance, it would be favorable to the West this is ...more
Terry Tucker
Nov 25, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
AMAZING Story. I highly recommend this book.
The writers of the time are easily cast into generalizations but that is too easy. The author's decision to tell the literary history of the Cold war through the writers and the books they wrote is both statement and argument, The work is based on declassified documents, archival work and in the words of the authors themselves.

This book fills an critically important history in an overlooked aspect of the Cold War. Everyone is familiar with propaganda,
Nathan Gilliatt
Nov 18, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is history told from a different perspective from most books and classes. The writers, poets and playwrights whose stories are told here aren't obscure, but they aren't conventionally powerful. The main message of Cold Warriors is that, in the 20th century, literature was perceived as powerful, and governments on both sides of the century's great contest wanted it on their side.

Telling the story of the half-century-long Cold War requires a running start and a cooldown, so the book starts in
Jamie Huston
Nov 04, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A variety in one volume: part narrative history, part literary appreciation, part biography of a couple of dozen interesting figures.

This dense but fast paced book really covers the whole global sweep of the Cold War through the lens of the writers who formed it, or who at least were major players in it (and believe that they were!). Examples of the anecdotes that anchor typical chapters: the story of the Bandung conference is told through the involvement of Richard Wright, the background of
Dec 10, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
“Cold Warriors” has at this point been raised into position as the that tops my book journal’s tree — stealing TOP place from Rutherfurd’s Russka — as my #1 read for 2019. Here’s a splendid NEW release that truly shines in celebration of an entire era of literature. “It is a story of novels, poems,and plays being weaponized as propaganda. But it is also the story of what happens when writers resist, when they fight back, when they take the risk of choosing... ‘to live within the truth’. “

Paul Dinger
Nov 10, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I really, really enjoyed this study. It made me see a lot of history in a new light, and even got me to read We, and I won't hold that against it. With the rise of stateism at the end of the cold war also gave rise to the dystopian novels like Brave New World and Nineteen Eighty Four, who knew this was funded in part by the CIA. Just as the Soviets tried to turn literature into propaganda for the state, the CIA was doing the same, funding literature and writers that were criticizing the USSR. It ...more
Gilion Dumas
Sep 05, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This new book examines how literature became a battlefield in the Cold War, with governments on both sides using books and authors to influence public opinion. Whether the US government was shipping pro-West books to soldiers or supporting modernist writing in the name of freedom, or the Soviet government was subsiding sympathetic writers and prosecuting dissenters, both sides engaged in a "book race" every bit as fierce as the contemporaneous arms race.

Duncan White looks at writers who
Barry Smirnoff
Jan 04, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Literature and the Cold War

I highly recommend this book. The author, who teaches history and literature at Harvard, is an excellent writer who is comfortable in addressing a huge amount of material. He discusses the Cold War in all of its permutations and the impact of literature from both sides of the Iron Curtain. Orwell, Pasternak, Solzhenitsyn and Howard Fast are discussed as lynchpins of the conflicts. It begins with the rise of anti-Communism in the US after WWII, and comes to the
Gina Dalfonzo
Dec 27, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
It's not the easiest read (and certainly not the shortest!), but it's a very valuable one. I'd go so far as to call it an essential one for anyone interested in history, politics, and/or literature. Few figures come out of the story smelling like a rose (aside from all the compromise and corruption and ethical murkiness, was there a writer on either side who was faithful to his or her spouse??). But in an odd way, their feet of clay make the stories of courage, self-sacrifice, and devotion to ...more
Kerry Pickens
This is a collection of very detailed stories about different authors involvement in the political times of the Cold War, and is foremost a history book. I was mainly interested in Graham Greene, as he is one of my favorite authors. According to this book, he was very hedonistic and experimented with drugs and other diversions during his travels. The book also includes authors that were more seriously involved like Solzhenitsyn where their lives and freedom were at stake.
Oct 31, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
An interesting look at the Cold War and how it was fought on a different front. The literary establishment was used by different agencies and people throughout the history of the Cold War. Mr. White tells the story from different angles and viewpoints in a very in depth manner.
Sep 11, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I thought that all of the stories from the cold war had been told-this proves me wrong. Highly recommended for those interested in the literature of the 20th century
Clay Hall
Oct 01, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Enjoyed the book, but found it odd that no writers on the Right were profiled. No mention of Whitaker Chambers, James Burnam, or any of the former Communists who drifted rightward?
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