Non-anti-communist Cold War books
September 3, 2013 6:01 AM   Subscribe

I'm looking for int'l relations and/or history books about the Cold War which don't depict the Communist world as a highly organised, monolithic organisation intentionally seeking world domination and which discuss the failures of American intervention/rollback/containment/etc. (I am not looking for propaganda from the other side; scholarly works would be best.) Thanks in advance ^_^
posted by myitkyina to Law & Government (6 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
Honestly, I think any scholarly work of diplomatic history will fit the bill.

Odd Arne Westad's book on third world interventions during the cold war, The Global Cold War is excellent.

John Harper's new Oxford history, The Cold War, is a very good, high level, US and USSR diplomatic history of the Cold War.

The 3 part, Cambridge History of the Cold War, is also very good.

Or are you looking for histories of specific episodes of the Cold War? If so, which ones?
posted by MisantropicPainforest at 6:06 AM on September 3, 2013 [2 favorites]

"The Threat" by Andrew Cockburn

It came out in 1985, and if it could be summarized it would be: "Many people think that Murphy's Law doesn't operate in the Soviet Union. They're wrong."

It also talks about how the (fictitious) image of the Soviet Monolith was used in the west for propaganda purposes.
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 6:16 AM on September 3, 2013

The Rise and Fall of the Soviet Threat by Alan Wolfe; and Know Your Enemy: The Rise and Fall of America's Soviet Experts by David Engerman.
posted by lathrop at 6:26 AM on September 3, 2013

You might find something in Kennan, George F. (1961), Russia and the West under Lenin and Stalin which covers the period from the Russian revolution until the end of WW2. It might make a useful background. Kennan was the father of the containment policy, but by 1961 when this book was written he began to be quite critical of containment and U.S. foreign policy in general.
posted by three blind mice at 7:25 AM on September 3, 2013

Archie Brown's "The Rise and Fall of Communism" might fit the bill. It's more about the various Communist polities of the twentieth century than about the Cold War as such, but it's a useful survey of the period and Brown does a fairly good job of avoiding stale cold warrior tropes in his assessment.
posted by Yesterday's camel at 8:14 AM on September 3, 2013

This isn't exactly what you're describing but there's overlap and I think it's kind of remarkable: Red Plenty is critical of the Soviet state but centered from a Soviet perspective. It's a genre-bending semi-novel about economics. Worth checking out.
posted by latkes at 1:16 PM on September 3, 2013 [2 favorites]

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