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The Cold War: A Post-Cold War History, 3rd Edition

ISBN: 978-1-118-84840-1
288 pages
February 2016, Wiley-Blackwell
The Cold War: A Post-Cold War History, 3rd Edition (1118848403) cover image


Now available in a fully revised and updated third edition, The Cold War: A Post-Cold War History offers an authoritative and accessible introduction to the history and enduring legacy of the Cold War.
  • Thoroughly updated in light of new scholarship, including revised sections on  President Nixon s policies in Vietnam and President Reagan s approach to U.S.-Soviet relations
  • Features six all new counterparts sections that juxtapose important historical figures to illustrate the contrasting viewpoints that characterized the Cold War
  • Argues that  the success of Western capitalism during the Cold War laid the groundwork for the economic globalization and political democratization that have defined the 21st century
  • Includes extended coverage of the Cuban Missile Crisis, the most dangerous confrontation of the nuclear age thus far
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Table of Contents

List of Illustrations ix

Preface and Acknowledgments xii

Prologue: Uneasy Allies, 1941–1945 1

1 Downward Spiral during the Truman–Stalin Years, 1945–1953 19

Issues in the Emerging Cold War 20

Images and Domestic Politics Harm Relations 28

Counterparts: George Kennan and Nikolai Novikov 30

Containment and Countercontainment, 1947–1949 34

The Most Dangerous Phase, 1950–1952 42

Conclusion 55

2 The Institutionalized Cold War, 1953–1962 58

The Cold War at Home 62

A Modest Improvement in East–West Relations, 1953–1955 70

The Second Dangerous Phase, 1956–1962 78

Counterparts: J. William Fulbright and Barry Goldwater 92

Showdown: The Cuban Missile Crisis 100

Conclusion 107

3 The Shift toward Relative Détente, 1963–1972 111

An Improved Atmosphere in 1963 113

Vietnam at Center Stage, 1964–1968 118

Toward a New Balance of Power, 1969–1972 131

Counterparts: Daniel Ellsberg and Henry Kissinger 140

Conclusion 151

4 The Roller ]Coaster Years, 1973–1984 154

Détente Bogs Down, 1973–1976 157

Carter Rides the Roller Coaster, 1977–1980 174

Reagan Challenges the Cold War Status Quo, 1981–1984 188

Counterparts: Jeane Kirkpatrick and Christopher Dodd 202

Seeking Improved US–Soviet Relations, 1983–1984 207

Conclusion 210

Epilogue: The Cold War Ends, 1985–1991 214

Counterparts: Mikhail Gorbachev and Ronald Reagan 222

Bibliographical Essay 230

Index 251

Photo Essay: The Cold War at Midpassage, 1957–1973 110


Map 1.1 Map of Korea 51

Map 2.1 Map of Israel 83

Map 3.1 Map of Vietnam 123

Map 4.1 Map of the Horn of Africa 179

Map 4.2 Map of Central America 200

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Author Information

Ralph Levering is Emeritus Professor of History at Davidson College. He is the author or co-author of nine books,, including Debating the Origins of the Cold War: American and Russian Perspectives (2002) and The Kennedy Crises: The Press, the Presidency, and Foreign Policy (1983). 


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