The Global Cold War by Odd Arne Westad is a fascinating account of superpower interventions in the Third World during the latter half of the twentieth century. Covering a wide sweep of history, Westad argues that the United States and the Soviet Union were driven to intervene in the Third World by the ideologies inherent in their politics.
College freshmen have no personal knowledge of the Cold War. Born after the Berlin Wall’s fall and the Soviet Union’s collapse, the threat of nuclear Armageddon seems far removed from their experiences, a relic of a bygone age. Yet, today, more countries than ever hold weapons whose scale of destruction can dwarf that of every bomb used in World War II.
The Last Colonial Massacre: Latin America in the Cold War combines incisive analysis of Cold War repression in Guatemala with a history of the country’s century-long mobilization leading up to the 1978 Panzós massacre that resulted in the deaths of Q’eqchi’ Maya men, women, and children. The Panzós massacre launched an intense and brutal escalation of violence, the effects of which continue to reverberate in contemporary Guatemalan society.
Before John Dower’s Embracing Defeat, many English-language accounts of the United States’ occupation of Japan contextualized the event in terms of American foreign policy and the emerging Cold War. Scholars writing from this Western-centric perspective produced much fine scholarship, and no doubt will continue to do so.
In the 1970s the United Nations complex and the public housing projects of East Harlem projected two disparate images of New York City. If the UN displayed the city’s position as a global capital of culture, politics, and economics, the deteriorating housing projects showed the city’s struggles with overcrowding, high crime rates, and poverty.
In this accessible and remarkably balanced synthesis, Melvyn Leffler, one of the most distinguished and prominent historians of American foreign relations, offers a refreshing interpretation of Cold War policymaking from the vantage points of both Washington and Moscow.
On September 26, 1983, satellites notified a Soviet watch station south of Moscow of inbound U.S. missiles. Stanislav Petrov, the officer on duty, had ten minutes to determine whether to launch a counterattack.
As one of the students in my U.S. women’s history class put it, “Women are just like men; except that they are different.” For all that men and women have had in common these many millenia, women’s experience has often been different.
As a historian of early America, my subject predates the invention of film or video, voice or music recording, or even photography. When I watch my modernist colleagues deliver multi-media lectures – including film clips, snatches of popular music or speeches, and photos – I feel a twinge of envy.