Saturday, December 28, 2013

The Global Cold War - Odd Arne Westad

The Cold War was a continuation of colonialism through slightly different means

"Truly seminal", "eye-opening", "sharply observed and deeply researched", "excellent book". Those are some of the definitions provided by some reviews of The Global Cold War by Odd Arne Westad. For some reason, the book-review industry is full of laudatory expressions, and this blog is not the exception. In this post, and to the extent of my abilities, I will try to write a review without adjectives and completely fact-based:

  • Westad does an extracts a lot of information from the Soviet archives. In fact, this was one of the first books ever to do it. Unfortunately, the same cannot be said about the American archives, even though they have clearly been open to the public for longer.
  • The first two chapters of the book summarize the founding ideologies of the USA and the USSR and their changes throughout history. I recommend this part to all readers.
  • The rest of the book is recommended mostly to European and American readers, who obviously have an Euro-centric view of the Cold War. Enlightened audiences from the developing World (or, as people used to call it before, the Third World) should be well aware that the main scenario of the fight between the USA and the USSR was not Europe, but the rest of the World.
  • In a context where the cinicism and simplism of the so-called Realist theory permeates academia, it is quite refreshing to read Westad's argument that USA and USSR interventions throughout their History have been at least partly driven by ideologies. 

No comments:

Post a Comment