More to read on the United States and the World in the 20th century.
Hailed as a pioneer of conservatism by some and reviled as an enemy of the middle class and a supporter of dictators by others, Reagan’s legacy has largely been shaped by debate between partisan pundits. Gradually, however, a limited body of more moderate of “Reagan revisionism” has begun to emerge.
Henry Wallace, according to Oliver Stone’s Showtime series, Untold History of the United States, was a true American hero, a lover of peace, and a gentle soul whose leadership could have saved the world from the Cold War. While no one has ever accused Stone of historical accuracy, his past work did not lay claim to documentary status. So how well does Stone’s interpretation comport with the historical record?
Recalling his formative years as an American baby boomer and the influence the Cold War and the Soviet Union had on his worldview, Donald Raleigh asks what life was like for people his age in the Soviet Union? What were their concerns about the future? How did they spend their time and what did Cold War ideological battles mean for their daily lives?
Contrasting visions of Reagan have been especially stark in the realm of foreign affairs. Advocates often argue that he launched a new arms race that undermined the Soviet Union. Critics remember a detached leader presiding over the shameful Iran-Contra scandal. Both depictions are problematic, as they accentuate different aspects of a complex, often inscrutable man.
Renowned Russian historian Ilya Gaiduk, Senior Research Fellow at the Institute of World History of the Russian Academy of Sciences and author of two monographs on the Soviet role in the Indochina conflict, did not live to see the completion and publication of Divided Together. But he undoubtedly would have been pleased with the result.
In July 1997, a Cuban-Argentine forensic team unearthed the skeletal remains of Comandante Ernesto “Che” Guevara in Vallegrande, Bolivia. Thirty years earlier, on October 9, 1967, CIA-trained Bolivian Special Forces agents had captured and executed the thirty-nine-year-old revolutionary before dumping his body in a shallow pit near a dirt runway.
In 1958 Frank Kameny was out of a job. A Harvard trained astronomer and veteran of World War II, he had been working for the Army Map Service.
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.
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.