The cold war a new history by john lewis gaddis a brief history of the cold war. an accessible and excellent read
The Cold War: A New History by John Lewis Gaddis Excellent, But....John Lewis Gaddis has written a comprehensive general history of theCold War that fulfills his stated purpose of acquainting a post-Cold Wargeneration with the history of that era. It also allows the longtime historybuff a comprehensive perspective with which to assess his ownconclusions to date.For my part, I have few differences to register. Let me mention three ofthem:1) In the early 70s, when the Christian Science Monitor was a majornewspaper, I found an article detailing the quality of the arms being sent bythe Russians to the North Vietnamese in contrast to those being sent tothe Egyptians under Anwar Sadat. Item by item, the article authenticatedthat the former were consistently second rate and the latter first rate, firmgrounding for the the Vietnameses belief that the Soviet Union was
concerned to assist them only enough to keep them and the Americansengaged, but not to win.When Ronald Reagan sent Stinger missiles to the Afghan rebels, I wasvery concerned that we might try something like that with them in order tostick it to the Soviets. My predilections run that way. Failing to find anyevidence to that effect, I was consciously glib in my speculation that sinceno Communist regime had ever been permanently overthrown, theadministration might not know how to calibrate the flow of Stingers for suchan effect. Sheer glibness, I knew and I had to accept the administrationsinnocence.Though refusing to be ruled by my predilection, I retained it. Then after9/11, I found out about the interview in the domestic edition of Le NouvelObservateur for the second week of January, 1998 with ZbigniewBrzezinski, Jimmy Carters foreign policy adviser (see Brzezinski /Afghanistan / Le Nouvel Observateur). He said that contrary to CW, ouraid to anti-Communist rebels began six months BEFORE the Sovietinvasion and was given in the hope of luring them into Afghanistan as aVietnam quagmire of their own. Professor Gaddis sees the invasion asSoviet retaliation for checks suffered in Europe, as I recall. No indicationthat he is even aware of the Brzezinski interview. But the reader will notethat it sustains my predilection.2.He seems to think that the Cold War taught our leaders to lie in a waythey had not done before. I specifically remember that sometime between1993-1996, network news hastily reported for one night only that PresidentClinton had agreed to accede to a Freedom of Information Act request byauthorizing the release of documents proving that President Trumanokayed experiments exposing American citizens, specifically pregnantwomen, to nuclear radiation without their knowledge and consent. Notsurprisingly the network newscast did not identify, much less interview theparty making the request but it must have been Eileen Welsome whowould win a Pulitzer Prize for her book on the subject, THE PLUTONIUMFILES. Professor Gaddis gives his full support to the myth of honest HarryTruman, Truman the Good. Not a small point when we recall that he led aprogressive political party in the fight against fascists whose atrocitiesincluded fiendish medical experiments on Jews, Chinese and Koreans.This in turn suggests a deeper and broader perspective that ProfessorGaddis might have brought to the work, particularly as he entered hisconclusion: the Cold Wars belligerents were part of the larger horror ofsinister tendancies paralleled THROUGHOUT the fabric of secretive,bureaucratic technological society no doubt EVERYW HERE. In thisregard, this fine historian allowed himself to be outclass ed by the old X-Files series very rare Ivy League best.3. A more respectful difference I have with Professor Gaddis stems frommy adherence to the Leninist theory of capitalist imperialism as applied toU.S. foreign policy by the democratic socialist his torian, William Appleman
Williams and Walter LaFeber of Cornell. Weve been in the eastern PacificOcean for about a century-and-a-half and weve always found some reasonto be there, all of which boil down to markets -- the need for themacknowledged in public statements (ALL of them vintage Leninism) by avirtually unbroken succession of U.S. presidents, key senators andrecognized architects of our foreign policy -- and natural resources (Seethe Asian section in George F. Kennans 1948 memorandum on theinternet.). No mention of them.But for the rest, a solid read. Powerful. For More 5 Star Customer Reviews and Lowest Price: The Cold War: A New History by John Lewis Gaddis - 5 Star Customer Reviews and Lowest Price!