The Cold War: A Very Short Introduction (2nd edition) [#087]
The Cold War: A Very Short Introduction (2nd edition) [#087]

The Cold War: A Very Short Introduction (2nd edition) [#087]

Robert J. McMahon


  • Covers the entirety of the Cold War era, highlighting key players such as Stalin, de Gaulle, and Reagan
  • Gives equal attention to the impact of the conflict on the developing world, on the West, and on Asia
  • Examines the Cold War's domestic as well as international dimensions
  • Written by a major American authority on the post-war period

New to this Edition:

  • Accounts for new scholarship on the 1970s, 1980s, and the Vietnam War
  • Offers new analysis based on significant new documents that were unavailable for the first edition

The Cold War dominated international life from the end of World War II to the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989. But how did the conflict begin? Why did it move from its initial origins in Postwar Europe to encompass virtually every corner of the globe? And why, after lasting so long, did the war end so suddenly and unexpectedly? Robert McMahon considers these questions and more, as well as looking at the legacy of the Cold War and its impact on international relations today.
The Cold War: A Very Short Introduction is a truly international history, not just of the Soviet-American struggle at its heart, but also of the waves of decolonization, revolutionary nationalism, and state formation that swept the non-Western world in the wake of World War II. McMahon places the 'Hot Wars' that cost millions of lives in Korea, Vietnam, and elsewhere within the larger framework of global superpower competition. He shows how the United States and the Soviet Union both became empires over the course of the Cold War, and argues that perceived security needs and fears shaped U.S. and Soviet decisions from the beginning—far more, in fact, than did their economic and territorial ambitions. He unpacks how these needs and fears were conditioned by the divergent cultures, ideologies, and historical experiences of the two principal contestants and their allies. Covering the years 1945-1990, this second edition uses recent scholarship and newly available documents to offer a fuller analysis of the Vietnam War, the changing global politics of the 1970s, and the end of the Cold War.


List of illustrations
List of maps
1:World War II and the destruction of the old order
2:The origins of the Cold War in Europe, 1945-50
3:Towards 'Hot War' in Asia, 1945-50
4:A global Cold War, 1950-8
5:From confrontation to detente, 1958-68
6:Cold wars at home
7:The rise and fall of superpower detente, 1968-79
8:The final phase, 1980-90
Further reading


Robert J. McMahon is the Ralph D. Mershon Professor of History Emeritus at Ohio State University. The author of several books on U.S. foreign relations, the Cold War, and the Vietnam War, he previously taught at the University of Florida and has held visiting professorships at Williams College, the University of Virginia, University College Dublin, and the Free University (Berlin). McMahon served as president of the Society for Historians of American Foreign Relations in 2001.

Review from previous edition 
"McMahon has produced a commanding short narrative of a vital period in recent world history. Clear, concise, and compelling, The Cold War is a superb primer on the subject." - Fredrik Logevall, University of California, Santa Barbara

"A riveting read that brings order to complexity. McMahon is a brilliant guide to the major events of the Cold War and has a gift for clear-headed analysis of the controversies that swirl around it." - Professor Barbara Keys, Durham University

"In concise and compelling prose, Robert McMahon offers critical insights about the truly global dimensions and profound legacies of the Cold War." - Dr. Wen-Qing Ngoei, author of Arc of Containment

"Robert McMahon's The Cold War: A Very Short Introduction is an extraordinary work of both concision and analysis. It incorporates the most up-to-date scholarship in the field, while giving students and excellent overview of this crucial period in international history. The book is truly unique in its short length and clear and concise summary of the main issues of the Cold War, while written with grace and subtlety. A masterful achievement!" - Professor Thomas Schwartz, Vanderbilt University

"Small but impressive" - Soldier Magazine


ISBN : 9780198859543

Robert J. McMahon
200 ページ
111 x 174 mm
Very Short Introductions





The Cold War: A Very Short Introduction (2nd edition) [#087]

The Cold War: A Very Short Introduction (2nd edition) [#087]

The Cold War: A Very Short Introduction (2nd edition) [#087]