The Cold War by Martin Walker

Read this book years ago, but it was worth rereading. This is mostly told from the Western and American side, chronicling the steps and missteps that American policy makers took to counter the threat of communist expansionism. Truman, Eisenhower, Kennedy, and Reagan all get their share of due credit, but ironically the President on whose watch the Cold War ended, George Herbert Walker Bush, is described as “sleepwalking through history” during the critical moments of the unraveling of the Soviet Union. There is indeed some evidence that Bush saw the demise of the Soviet Union as a threat to stability and the established order and actually sought to slow down the process somewhat rather than aid and abet it. But it is Gorbachev and not any Western leader who really emerges as the key actor in this phenomenon, although what he brought about was surely not what he intended. This was a good book, opinionated but fairly evenhanded, definitely at the top of the list on CW history.

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