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The Global Cold War
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  • 15 b/w illus. 10 maps
  • Page extent: 498 pages
  • Size: 228 x 152 mm
  • Weight: 0.801 kg

Library of Congress

  • Dewey number: 909.825
  • Dewey version: 22
  • LC Classification: n/a
  • LC Subject headings:
    • Cold War
    • World politics--1945-1989
    • World politics--1989-

Library of Congress Record


 (ISBN-13: 9780521853644 | ISBN-10: 0521853648)

Replaced by 9780521703147


The Cold War between the former Soviet Union and the United States indelibly shaped the world we live in today--especially international politics, economics, and military affairs. This volume shows how the globalization of the Cold War during the 20th century created the foundations for most of today's key international conflicts, including the "war on terror." Odd Arne Westad examines the origins and course of Third World revolutions and the ideologies that drove the U.S. and the U.S.S.R. towards interventionism. He focuses on how these interventions gave rise to resentments and resistance that, in the end, helped to topple one and to seriously challenge the other superpower. In addition, he demonstrates how these worldwide interventions determined the international and domestic framework within which political, social and cultural changes took place in such countries as China, Indonesia, Iran, Ethiopia, Angola, Cuba, and Nicaragua. According to Westad, these changes, plus the ideologies, movements and states that interventionism stirred up, constitute the real legacy of the Cold War. Odd Arne Westad is Professor of International History at the London School of Economics and Political Science. In 2004 he was named head of department and co-director of the new LSE Cold War Studies Centre. Professor Westad is the author, or editor, of ten books on contemporary international history including Decisive Encounters: The Chinese Civil War, 1946-1950 (2003) and, with Jussi Hanhimaki, The Cold War: A History in Documents and Eyewitness Accounts (2003). In addition, he is a founding editor of the journal Cold War History.


Introduction; 1. The empire of liberty: American ideology and foreign interventions; 2. The empire of justice: Soviet ideology and foreign interventions; 3. The revolutionaries: anti-colonial politics and transformations; 4. Creating the Third World: the United States confronts revolution; 5. The Cuban and Vietnamese challenges; 6. The crisis of decolonization: Southern Africa; 7. The prospects of socialism: Ethiopia and the Horn; 8. The Islamist defiance; 9. The 1980s: the Reagan offensive; 10. The Gorbachev withdrawal and the end of the Cold War; Conclusion: Revolutions, interventions and Great Power collapse.

Prize Winner

Winner of the 2006 Bancroft Prize, Columbia University

Winner of the 2006 Akira Iriye International History Book Award

Winner of the 2006 Michael Harrington Award, New Political Science section of the American Political Science Association


"Based on prodigious research, this ambitious and wide-ranging book presents the most important account to date of the Cold War in the Third World. Westad's study represents broad-based, international history at its best. He deftly weaves together the tale of world politics writ large with stories about variegated processes of revolution and social change across the Third World. This should prove an indispensable work for anyone interested in the history of the twentieth-century."
-Robert J. McMahon, University of Florida

"The Global Cold War is a powerful account of the way in which the third world moved to the center of international politics in the closing decades of the 20th century. Drawing on a stunning multiplicity of archival material, Odd Arne Westad integrates perspectives and disciplines which have, until now, remained separate: U.S. and Soviet ideologies, their politics and the interventions that flowed from both; insurrection, rebellion, revolution and the power of competing models of development, systems of support or subversion (sometimes synonymous) that in part determined their outcome. Westad writes with the combination of clarity, wit and passion that have always characterized his work. This time the canvas is large enough to do full justice to his scholarship and his humanity."
-Marilyn B. Young, New York University

"Odd Arne Westad's new book is an extremely important contribution to the historiography of the Cold War. With broad erudition, amazing geographical range, and inventive research in archives around the globe, Westad tells the tragic story of the United States and Soviet Union's involvement in what became called the 'Third World.' The newly emerging nations of the 'South' – of Africa, Asia, and Latin America – barely emerged from their humiliating subservience to European colonialism before being dragged by Cold War rivalries into ideologically-inspired upheavals that ended up bankrupting their countries and devastating their peoples. Westad's study enables his readers to integrate the Third World into the history of the Cold War and confronts them with the meaning of intervention in the past for the international system today."
-Norman M. Naimark, Stanford University

"In a reinterpretation of the Cold War that is as thorough as it is important, Westad places Soviet and American interventions in the Third World at the center of their struggle. Driven by ideology and the need to affirm the rightness of their principles, both superpowers felt compelled to contest with the other in areas of little intrinsic importance. The results were almost uniformly failures, and in the process brought much sorrow and destruction to the Third World. The picture is not a pretty one, but Westad shows that studying it reveals much about the Cold War, and about the current world scene."
-Robert Jervis, Columbia University

"Westad's account is sharply observed and deeply researched...this book is superb: few scholars could match Westad's mastery of the sources."
-Foreign Affairs, May/June 2006

"The Global Cold War is remarkable for its geographical and historical breath"
-Robert A. Goldberg, University of Utah, Journal of Interdisciplinary History

"This study is a comprehensive, well-documented, and well-written history of the Cold War in the Third World. Westad has done a superb job of explaining how the world of today, both at home and abroad, is largely a product of the Cold War era. His book belongs on the shelf of every serious student of recent world history."
-Ronald Powaski, The Historian

"This particularly impressive and clearly written account of the Cold War is especially valuable because of its global perspective, and its focus on the worldwide impact of superpower impressive work that deserves attention."
-Jeremy Black, University of Exeter, The Journal of Military History

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