Cold War

Written by Jeremy Isaacs Taylor Downing
Review by S Garside-Neville

This book was first published in 1998, having its origins in a TV series. Now reprinted, it has a new introduction by Peter Hennessy (himself an author of a Cold War analysis) and a new afterword by the authors. The book covers forty-five years of the era after the Second World War when the superpowers dangerously held the balance of power with nuclear weapons.

This is a very thorough work, beginning with a chapter covering the years between 1917 and 1945, when Soviet Russia and the West had a difficult relationship, but which lead to an uneasy alliance to defeat Nazi Germany. During that time, the seeds were sown for the Cold War. There then follows a series of concise chapters covering post-Second World War history, with its various stand-offs, spies, air space and territory violations, culture clashes, and Sputnik.

This book would be a great asset to anyone writing about 1945 onward, as it would be easy to find out what the world political climate was in any given decade up to the early 1990s.