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Summary

The Cold War was an undeclared war, fought silently and carefully between ideological opponents armed with the most fearsome weapons mankind has ever seen. Hughes-Wilson takes a cool look at this war, from the Bolshevik Revolution of 1917 to the collapse of the Berlin Wall in 1989 and the dissolution of the USSR thereafter.

He examines the suspicion and paranoia - on both sides - of the greatest stand-off in history. Written by one of Britain's leading, popular, military historians, this book makes accessible for the first time one of the key periods to shape our world.

©2006 John Hughes-Wilson (P)2014 Audible Ltd

What listeners say about A Brief History of the Cold War

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    4 out of 5 stars
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A Highly Partisan History

This title covers a fascinating period of recent history, and the narration by Philip Franks is delightfully polished.

The analysis contained in this book is however surprisingly partisan, with highly judgemental and emotive language attributed to events and individuals which are entitled to a more nuanced interpretation. So, for example, the Cambridge spies are dismissed as gullible idiots, when of course they were in fact highly intelligent individuals whose allegiances to the undoubtedly brutal Russian communist regime were born out of the injustices of the age, rather than blind ignorance. The result is a disappointingly black-and-white analysis, presumably reflecting the simplistic military perspective of the author.

Despite this, it is still an enriching listen, even if the perspectives offered require a healthy degree of scepticism.

16 people found this helpful

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Enjoyable listen from an author with an agenda.

Enjoyable historical page turner from the Russian revolution until the fall of the Wall. The story nevers slackens, it may not be an academic treatise but it is a great listen. The narration is excellent with intonation, punctuation and diligence of pronunciation- perfect.
The author gives his views without ever allowing doubt that he is just giving his (well informed) take on events. Thus JFK assassination is dismantled and the guilty people named. The author is clearly a supporter of the West and hates Communism. He is clear that being a Socialist, a Liberal or worst of all Liberal Academic are all beneath contempt. I was amused that he replaces Russia or China by "workers paradise" in many chapters after describing how how Stalin or Mao etc have repressed or murdered millions.
He takes care to let us know that this character is a homosexual spy or a Jewish traitor etc. His very punchy, outspoken style does make this a splendid read but just maybe overlaid with a strong bias.

6 people found this helpful

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Terrifyingly educational

Where does A Brief History of the Cold War rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

Very highly, all the 'Brief History' books I have heard so far are superbly written and superbly narrated.

Who was your favorite character and why?

there are no characters, but the areas of the pre WW2 'cold war' was of particular interest as it was new to me that the tensions began even before the end of WW2.

What does Philip Franks bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you had only read the book?

All the brief history narrators have been excellent so far. He adds emotion and inflection as well as clear pronunciation.

Did you have an emotional reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

The book scared me to death, it is horrific how close we came and the gambles people were playing.

Any additional comments?

Another terrific 'brief history of' book that entertained and educated. Recommended very highly.

4 people found this helpful

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A BRIEF HISTORY OF THE COLD WAR-REVIEW

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

IT IS THE BEST NARRATION OF THIS HISTORIC PHENOMENA THAT WAS MADE FOR AN AUDIOBOOK.

What was one of the most memorable moments of A Brief History of the Cold War?

THE FINAL PART, WITH THE FALL OF THE SOVIET UNION.

What does Philip Franks bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you had only read the book?

IT IS LIKE BEING IN THE MIDDLE OF EVENTS.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

YES.

Any additional comments?

A BOOK THAT I WOULD TELL EVERYONE TO BUY IT, A REAL MASTERPIECE FOR THIS HISTORIC EVENT.

2 people found this helpful

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Very educating, feels like multiple lectures

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

Would defintely recommend the book to anyone looking to get knowledge on cold war but especially all conflicts that were linked to it and the american russian powerplay.

I had to put the narrator 0,25 or 0x slower as it was too fast for my like. It felt like it was artifically sped up. So the book took much longer than expected. It is a long read, but chop it up in bits, listen to it in the car... You won't regret it !

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Cold times

Really interesting and fantastically read. Some dark things went on back then, if you like a spy film or novel this is a must, the best spy story ever, and it's real life.

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  • C
  • 04-06-14

It's like the Daily Mail version of the Cold War

The author seems to think that his personal political opinions are pertinent to the story, at every opportunity, which is a shame as it is an interesting period in history otherwise.

14 people found this helpful

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Some surprising revelations

Some stuff that I didn't know. Fir example related to John F Kennedy and later with regard Gorbachev.

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Right wing garbage

I listened to the first hour or so but could take no more. Lefties bad westies good is, to be kind to the author, a somewhat unsophisticated analysis.

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a biased and very pro Western account

from the start you knew you were getting a biased version of events. there are better accounts out there.

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  • Christian Jorgensen
  • 12-04-17

A woefully unbalanced and haughty view

What did you like best about A Brief History of the Cold War? What did you like least?

The fact that it is one of the few books that focus on the entire span of the Cold War is definitely it's force.

What was the most interesting aspect of this story? The least interesting?

The fact that it covers the entire Cold War period is the sole claim to fame for this book. The fact that it is one-sided, biased and written in an incredibly condescending and arrogant tone detracts a lot from the merits.

What does Philip Franks bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

He does a good work of reading the book.

Did A Brief History of the Cold War inspire you to do anything?

It inspired me to at least try to be neutral when I, myself, try to make a narrative about a conflict. Also it inspired me not to view the world through a lense of haughty arrogance.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Daniel
  • 16-01-16

An informative listen

For a casual learner of history, I found this an easy to follow and easy to understand history of the Cold War.
My only criticism is that it is not strictly chronological in order, and when presenting certain aspects of the war jumped between multiple decades within minutes, and assumes the reader remembers the names and positions of key people, which if listened over the space of a few weeks is not possible for most listeners.
I would recommend this to most listeners

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  • Eyal
  • 23-03-18

One of the best

A great book
I have enjoyed every chapter
If it’s in your interest, this is the book for you.

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  • Kelly C.
  • 07-02-17

Good overview of USA v USSR Cold War.

Very good overview of Cold War between USSR and the USA, and the UK. Only a little on Communist China though, more focused on former Soviet Union, with Eastern Europe v. the US and NATO. Definitely worth the time if you like the subject of the Cold War.

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  • Chillman36
  • 30-08-16

A bit one sided

I got the impression that the author was very pro American and his take reflected that.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Nathaniel
  • 19-06-15

A plus

A very insightful overview of the Cold War that keeps the reader intrigued. Exactly what the title suggests.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Sydney
  • 13-02-15

Informative

Good factual stuff about the cold war .
But dwells a bit too much on the
American perspective, not too much about other NATO members