The Cold War: A History

In This Review

The Cold War: A History

By Martin Walker
Henry Holt and Company, 1994
392 pp. $30.00

This book, written by the The Guardian's U.S. bureau chief and veteran Moscow-watcher, is a solid and straightforward account of the Cold War, spanning from 1945 up through the fall of the Berlin Wall and the attempted Moscow coup in 1991. The later chapters on the post-Brezhnev years tend to be more interesting, since the author can draw on his considerable knowledge of Soviet and Russian sources. Yet this book by and large does not break new ground in terms of sources or interpretations, and steers a middle ground between orthodox and revisionist accounts of the origins of the Cold War. It would, however, be very useful as an overview in college courses. The author concludes, somberly, that the United States emerged from the Cold War a crippled power, exhausted by its misallocation of investment resources to defense. One is struck, reading this, how the issues of the Cold War, which once appeared so urgent, now seem so distant.

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