Russia's Cold War

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From the October Revolution to the Fall of the Wall

Jonathan Haslam

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The first history of the Cold War focusing on the Soviet dimension, based on previously inaccessible archives

The phrase “Cold War” was coined by George Orwell in 1945 to describe the impact of the atomic bomb on world politics: “We may be heading not for a general breakdown but for an epoch as horribly stable as the slave empires of antiquity.” The Soviet Union, he wrote, was “at once unconquerable and in a permanent state of ‘cold war’ with its neighbors.” But as a leading historian of Soviet foreign policy, Jonathan Haslam, makes clear in this groundbreaking book, the epoch was anything but stable, with constant wars, near-wars, and political upheavals on both sides.

Whereas the Western perspective on the Cold War has been well documented by journalists and historians, the Soviet side has remained for the most part shrouded in secrecy—until now. Drawing on a vast range of recently released archives in the United States, the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Russia, and Eastern Europe, Russia’s Cold War offers a thorough and fascinating analysis of East-West relations from 1917 to 1989.

Far more than merely a straightforward history of the Cold War, this book presents the first account of politics and decision making at the highest levels of Soviet power: how Soviet leaders saw political and military events, what they were trying to accomplish, their miscalculations, and the ways they took advantage of Western ignorance. Russia’s Cold War fills a significant gap in our understanding of the most important geopolitical rivalry of the twentieth century.

Jonathan Haslam is professor of the history of international relations at the University of Cambridge, fellow of Corpus Christi College, Cambridge, and a fellow of the British Academy.

"There are rich rewards in [the book's] fascinating insights, well balanced judgements and original, sometimes provocative arguments, which are bound to stimulate debate for years to come."—Orlando Figes, Sunday Times

Russia’s Cold War is an exciting ride through post-war history…. [This] book lets off fireworks that light up many shadowy corners.”—Robert Service, Times Literary Supplement

"[C]omprehensive and erudite . . . Haslam has written an excellent book, one that assumes an important place in the historiography of the Cold War."—Norman M. Naimark, The Russian Review

"Jonathan Haslam has produced the first comprehensive account of Soviet policy between the October Revolution and the fall of the Berlin Wall, using an astonishing array of original materials that take readers into the heart of decision-making in Moscow and its satellites."—Michael Burleigh, Sunday Telegraph

"Both learned and provocative, Jonathan Haslam's new book sheds new light on not only Russia's Cold War but also on America's. The deep research and strong arguments will stimulate debate for years to come."—Robert Jervis, Columbia University

"A brilliant and original contribution to the literature on the Cold War. Haslam combines deep research with sharp insight to provide an illuminating account of the Soviet side of that conflict."—David Holloway, Stanford University

"Jonathan Haslam pulls back the curtain to permit observations, many in considerable detail, of Soviet leaders' attitudes and actions during key episodes in the bipolar contest."—Charles Hill, author of Grand Strategies: Literature, Statecraft, and World Order

“Haslam’s purpose in this impressive study is t revisit the Cold War from the Russian point of view…Haslam, while focusing on Russia, digs deep into the political background of all sides. His sources are a wide range of archival materials…and he has used them to understand the initiatives and thoughts of all the political leaders whose role in the conduct and ending of the Cold War was significant.”—Harold Shukman, Times Higher Education Supplement

“Russia’s Cold War brings new dimension to our understanding of the recent past.”—The Scotsman

“Haslam’s superb research puts his book in a league of its own, and it is hard to imagine it being surpassed as an account of what went on inside Russian foreign policy in this period.”—Simon Heffer, Daily Telegraph

“… essential reading for anyone, both in Russia and the West, who is interested in Cold War history.”—Oksana Antonenko, Church Times

"A brilliant survey and analysis of the Cold War . . . With verve, clarity, logic and access to the rich archives of Russia, Europe, and the US, [Haslam] has produced a definitive study that will stand for years to come."—D.J. Dunn, Choice

"Haslam's book offers much to those assessing the situation from the Soviet perspective. His footnotes alone are extremely impressive, not least in conveying the wealth of information on which his fruitful arguments rest."—Jeremy Black, RUSI Journal

“….this is a welcome book. It is clear, well-written and interesting….This first-rate book will enjoy much praise….extremely impressive.”—Jeremy Black, RUSI Journal

"[A]n invaluable analysis of the views and circumstances that created and propelled the Cold War. . . . for the serious student of international relations, Haslam's book provides the most judicious, thoroughly documented synthesis yet produced in the post-Cold War era."—Kathryn Weathersby, Political Science Quarterly

"Every historian should read this book" — Helen Hundly, Wichita State University

"This excellent book is the first to lift the veil on the Kremlin’s thinking in a comprehensive history of the global struggle that defined the 20th century… [Haslam’s] academic book is not for the lighthearted. But there are rich rewards in its fascinating insights and original, sometimes provocative arguments, which are bound to stimulate debate for years to come."—Orlando Figes, The Sunday Times

“This is a very important book.”—BBC History Magazine 

Selected as a Choice Outstanding Academic Title for 2011 in the Central Eastern Europe category. 

ISBN: 9780300188196
Publication Date: September 11, 2012
544 pages, 6 1/8 x 9 1/4
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Realist Thought in International Relations since Machiavelli

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