Book recommendations about the Cold War
April 4, 2007 9:40 PM   Subscribe

I'm interested in reading about the Cold War, specifically, about Stalin and the Soviet side of things during the early phases of the war. Other topics are fine though. Any book recommendations you have will be greatly appreciated!

I guess mainly what I'm looking for are interesting reads that aren't an overview of the Cold War, but more in depth about certain events during the Cold War. Thanks!
posted by meta87 to Education (11 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: For documents from the Soviet side of the conflict, the Cold War International History Project is a good source. For example: New Evidence on the Soviet Rejection of the Marshall Plan, 1947: Two Reports.

My standard recommendation is The Cold War as History (Louis Halle), which describes the development of the Cold War from the end of World War II to the Cuban missile crisis in 1963, including the numerous confrontations along the way. Halle was there himself; it's quite gripping.

I'd also recommend George F. Kennan's Russia and the West under Lenin and Stalin.
posted by russilwvong at 10:11 PM on April 4, 2007

Best answer: Shame by Sam Cohen, its vanity published but I think I got my copy off of amazon. Cohen is on the US-arms race side of things but made me think of cold warriors in a whole new way.
posted by Deep Dish at 1:06 AM on April 5, 2007

Martin Walker's The Cold War: A History was pretty good.

John Lewis Gaddis' The Cold War: A New History and Vladislav Zubok and Constantine Pleshakov's Inside the Kremlin's Cold War: From Stalin to Krushchev both sound good.
posted by kirkaracha at 6:52 AM on April 5, 2007

You could browse the Harvard Project on Cold War Studies at the Davis Center. They're working on scholarly projects rather than pop, but they also have incredible expertise in Soviet foreign policy.
posted by B-squared at 7:04 AM on April 5, 2007

Suny's the Soviet Experiment is a great overview of Soviet history.
posted by k8t at 8:01 AM on April 5, 2007

Best answer: One of my favorites is a little book by Milovan Dijas called Conversations with Stalin. It is a record of a Yugoslavian officer and his visits to the Kremlin. It doesn't provide any narrative history of the period, but is filled with great anecdotes about life inside the Kremlin. It was fun to get a peek into Stalin's wierd Kremlin bubble.

I would also recommend Zubok and Pleshakov's Inside the Kremlin's cold war : from Stalin to Khrushchev. That work makes the best use of Soviet archives to tell the Cold War narrative.
posted by boubelium at 9:00 AM on April 5, 2007

Oh, let me also add Molotov Remembers: Inside Kremlin Politics edited by Chuev Felix. Molotov was Stalin's foreign minister and a real crafty fellow. This book is a selection of interviews with him done in the late 1980's shortly before his death. It is filled with all sorts of anecdotes about Stalin and the onset of the Cold War. I found it fun to skim through, especially since Molotovcomes off as a bit of a cranky old man. Sort of a "Well back in my day we really knew how to run a gulag!"
posted by boubelium at 9:03 AM on April 5, 2007

Best answer: The standard history is Robert Conquest, The Great Terror. He has recently updated the book as The Great Terror: A Reassessment.
posted by KRS at 9:27 AM on April 5, 2007

Best answer: I second Conquest. Good stuff. Khrushchev's memoirs are also fascinating, and though I haven't read it, William Taubman's Khrushchev bio won a pulitzer a few years back and I've heard it's good. (FWIW, I heard an extensie radio interview with Taubman and it was very good.)
posted by Heminator at 10:14 AM on April 5, 2007

Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn has written several books about the Russian forced-labor camp system (GULAG) that I have found very interesting.
posted by ktrey at 12:02 PM on April 5, 2007

Response by poster: Thanks alot for all the great suggestions. I have alot of reading to do!
posted by meta87 at 1:27 PM on April 5, 2007

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