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Summary

As Germany and then Japan surrendered in 1945, there was a tremendous hope that a new and much better world could be created from the moral and physical ruins of the conflict. Instead, the combination of the huge power of the USA and USSR and the near-total collapse of most of their rivals created a unique, grim new environment: the Cold War.

For over 40 years the demands of the Cold War shaped the life of almost all of us. There was no part of the world where East and West did not ultimately demand a blind and absolute allegiance and nowhere into which the West and East did not reach. Countries as remote from each other as Korea, Angola and Cuba were defined by their allegiances. Almost all civil wars became proxy conflicts for the superpowers. Europe was seemingly split in two indefinitely.

Arne Westad's remarkable new book is the first to have the distance from these events and the ambition to create a convincing, powerful narrative of the Cold War. The book is genuinely global in its reach and captures the dramas and agonies of a period always overshadowed by the horror of nuclear war and which, for millions of people, was not 'cold' at all: a time of relentless violence, squandered opportunities and moral failure.

This is a book of extraordinary scope and daring. It is conventional to see the first half of the 20th century as a nightmare and the second half as a reprieve. Westad shows that for much of the world, the second half was by most measures even worse.

©2017 Odd Arne Westad (P)2018 Audible, Ltd

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One of the best books I've ever read

What an excellent book. I know my political history quite well and even I learned plenty here. about as comprehensive a general overview gets while staying clear of sweeping generalisations or geting bogged down in needless detail. Also the book is read by my favourite narrator so that goes in its favour too. I highly recommend.

18 people found this helpful

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Just a good listen

This audiobook is extremely interesting and coupled with a really good narrator it creates a very long but detailed account of the Cold War. I like how this book doesn't portray a writer favouring a certain side of the war, you can explore and learn about both the atrocities and the pure humane approaches to this long and drawn out war. It's amazing to put the old ideologies against what we believe and strive for today.

I liked the narrator who spoke in this audiobook, he is well spoken, clear and has a tone of voice which helps you really take in the information. Happily listen to more books read by this narrator.

My only criticism is that some parts could have been condensed down. I understand why it was drawn out though to fully explain one portion of this horrible war.

8 people found this helpful

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Excellent History of the Cold War

Really enjoyed the book and the presentation. The referrals to the South African Defence Force however are inaccurate. Probably taken from Cuban or Soviet sources. The SADF was never defeated in Angola.

5 people found this helpful

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Full picture

Gives an encompassing overview. Gives details to support claims. Not free of personal interpretation and views, which make it interesting to listen to and engaged.

25 people found this helpful

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scary book

brought back many memories, thank God I didn't realise at the time how dangerous some peoples ideas can be

4 people found this helpful

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Superb analysis

I lived through most of the Cold War period, yet most of this history I didn't know, or didn't imperfectly understood. This book has opened my eyes. I cannot recommend it highly enough.

3 people found this helpful

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The Cold War

Succinct and superb. The onus being on succinct. Excellent! One or two too brief geo political zone a little too brief. I will recommend this book to any thinking person. Today's idiot juvenile students, and practiser of politics, should read this excellent summary.

2 people found this helpful

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Powerful, objective and enlightening

The author tells it straight, uncompromised by personal ideological baggage. Everyone should read this book.

1 person found this helpful

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Really interesting

Some of the themes were difficult to follow as it kept jumping around between dates and countries, but overall a brilliant book which has given a much better understanding of why the world we live in is as it is

1 person found this helpful

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Surprisingly good

I thought this book was going to be too long for the subject matter but it isn't, there's hardly any padding or repetition and while it takes a while to get going, it keeps you engaged right to the end.

A fascinating analysis of the 20th century cold war and a sad indictment of humankind, or at least of the tiny subset of humankind that seeks power.

1 person found this helpful