Customer Reviews


6 Reviews
5 star:
 (2)
4 star:    (0)
3 star:
 (2)
2 star:    (0)
1 star:
 (2)
 
 
 
 
 
Average Customer Review
Share your thoughts with other customers
Create your own review
 
 

The most helpful favourable review
The most helpful critical review


5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars russia's cold war
Absolutely rivetting acount of the rationale behind Russian policy, effectively from the 1920's to the fall of the DDR, based largely on Russian archive material by a scholarly author. The book is obviously of considerable value to the professional historian, but succeeds admirably in its effort to present the topic to the intrested amateur in a lively and readable...
Published on 23 Jun 2011 by chessman365

versus
11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating subject - often confusing read
This deeply serious history, unadorned by any photographs, even on the cover, is distinctive for presenting the Cold War from a Soviet perspective, and for making use of "previously inaccessible" archives. It increased my understanding of, say the level of US ignorance of European geopolitics during and just after World War II, and of Stalin's machinations, largely based...
Published on 2 July 2011 by Antenna


Most Helpful First | Newest First

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars russia's cold war, 23 Jun 2011
Absolutely rivetting acount of the rationale behind Russian policy, effectively from the 1920's to the fall of the DDR, based largely on Russian archive material by a scholarly author. The book is obviously of considerable value to the professional historian, but succeeds admirably in its effort to present the topic to the intrested amateur in a lively and readable fashion. A large detailed book, thoroughly to be recommended.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating subject - often confusing read, 2 July 2011
By 
Antenna (UK) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
This deeply serious history, unadorned by any photographs, even on the cover, is distinctive for presenting the Cold War from a Soviet perspective, and for making use of "previously inaccessible" archives. It increased my understanding of, say the level of US ignorance of European geopolitics during and just after World War II, and of Stalin's machinations, largely based on fear of the intentions of any person or state that might threaten his power. It contains many pithy and revealing quotations. The extent of leakage of British and US correspondence and plans via Russian spies is also intriguing.

However, I found this a hard read. The author makes little attempt to consider the needs of his readers. Some of the main events, such as the terms of the Yalta Agreement are referred to as if one is already familiar with them. This rather begs the question as to why one would need to read the book. Space which could have been used for brief explanations is instead taken up with a string of "minor characters" who, when they prove hard to recall on an unforseeable reappearance, sometimes cannot be found in the rather inadequate index. I also found a few distracting typos e.g. 1939 instead of 1919. I formed the impression that this book has been culled rapidly from copious notes by a busy academic, with the result that some paragraphs seem full of non sequiturs, which even after several readings may remain fairly unclear. For instance, on page 72 a paragraph begins:

"In March 1946 London and Washington finally cemented intelligence cooperation with the UK-USA agreement which updated its predecessor, BRUSA, concluded in 1943. Kennan's long telegram relaunched his idling career. It arrived just as the White House had to make sense of continued failure to redress Truman's attention." Why is this section separated by a good deal of digression from that on page 71 which explains some of the contents of the telegram?

Likewise, on page 82, a section headed "The Truman Doctrine", does not clearly explain what this is. "The Truman doctrine was thus proclaimed in a 'panic move'. Addressing Congress on March 12, Truman anathematized communism in general on the false assumption that it was entirely directed from the Kremlin as it had been before 1941." Very interesting, but what exactly was the Doctrine, and why should communism be condemned on the above grounds?

Worse than this, on page 95, a section headed, "No more communist uprisings for now" launches into references to the PCF and PCI policy (whatever they are) and references to Thorez, without making the context at all clear, even after the reader has struggled to work it out using the index. It all makes for a confusing read.

Owing to the need to cover systematically the period from 1917 to the fall of the Berlin Wall, this boils down to a rather dense poitical history of modern Russia, often jumping from one sub-section to another with a very different theme, rather than a succinct analysis of the "Cold War".

With better editing, this could be an excellent book. As it stands, it calls for a reader with a good deal of time and patience. Perhaps its value is mainly as a reference book for students. I have made a note to return to it after I have tried a few other takes on Soviet Russia, and the "Cold War" to see what it may add at that stage of my understanding
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Russia's Cold War:From the October Revolution to the fall of the Wall, 29 July 2011
A thorough book which assembles much new material in one packed volume. Many of the events of the Cold War come to life in this fascinating account. It shows clearly that certainly in the post Stalin age the person at the head of the Party in Russia was always circumscribed by colleagues and frquently unaware of what was happening in the "Deep State" of the military which was running its own agenda throughout this time.
I was struck by aspects of two earlier reviews. If Antenna really does not understand "references into the PCI and PCF policy whatever they are" then he/she really should be reading a simpler text. The initials of the Italian and French Communist parties being universally known amongst serious students of these years. Similarly if Mr Robertson wants more photographs he should buy a picture book there are plenty available.
I was mildly annoyed by the typos but was impressed overall by how much was crammed into these 400 pages. My one criticism is that although advertised as being an account "from the October Revolution to the Fall of the Wall" it is really a post war account of the Cold War.
An excellent book for any serious student of this period.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars A misleading subtitle, for an uninformative and utterly conventional survey, 29 Oct 2012
By 
William Podmore (London United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Russia's Cold War: From the October Revolution to the Fall of the Wall (Paperback)
Yale University Press claims that this book is `a thorough analysis of East-West relations from 1917 to 1989'. It is not. The years from 1917 to 1938 are covered in seven pages; the years from 1938 to 1943 are covered in another six. It is actually a history of the Cold War from 1944 to 1991.

Further, this book has only been spell-checked, not properly proof-read or edited, witness the frequent omission of necessary prepositions and even the repetition of whole sentences, as on page 286.

Haslam, Professor of the History of International Relations at Cambridge University, writes, "Relying solely on Western sources amounts to taking testimony from one side only in an unpleasant divorce. Under the rule of law no court would seriously allow such a practice." He may have taken testimony from both sides, but he acts more like a prosecuting counsel than a judge.

He writes, "however expansionist it [pre-revolutionary Russia] was, the West always found a route to accommodation." Oh yes, the British state could always come to an understanding with feudal absolutism - the carnage of the Crimean War, the Russo-Japanese war and the First World War, were only incidental costs, borne by workers.

Haslam acknowledges that Stalin's dominance had `extended communism across one-third of the world's surface' but Haslam can only see Stalin's `miscalculations'. Even US Secretary of State John Foster Dulles was more generous. He told the USA's National Security Council in 1956, "the United States had very largely failed to appreciate the impact on the underdeveloped areas of the world of the phenomenon of Russia's rapid industrialization. Its transformation from an agrarian to a modern industrialized state was an historical event of absolutely first class importance."

Gorbachev, Haslam tells us, was `relatively uneducated' - compared to whom? To a professor at Cambridge University? In fact, Gorbachev graduated from Moscow State University with a degree in law and in 1967 he qualified as an agricultural economist with an MA from the Stavropol Institute of Agriculture.

In all, this is a painfully conventional account. It sheds no new light on any of the events it deals with. Far better is D. F. Fleming's The Cold War and its Origins, 1917-1960, a book which actually covers the whole period it claims to cover. Professor Fleming may not have had access to the Soviet archives, but he had a far more intelligent understanding of the dynamics of the Cold War.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Serious & worthy but...., 16 July 2011
By 
Mr. A. Robertson (Scotland) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
...did anybody actually proof-read this manuscript before going to print? The sheer number of wrong words, misspellings and grammatical howlers is unforgivable. There are no photographs either; a real shame not to have images of the main protagonists in this compelling story.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


0 of 4 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars A Disaster, 4 Oct 2013
This review is from: Russia's Cold War: From the October Revolution to the Fall of the Wall (Paperback)
I am overwhelmingly surprised what kind of rubbish can be published by 'brandname' authors such as Haslam. Mind you, Haslam (for me at least) has never been a good historian anyway. Graduating from Ox-bridge and being a professor there does NOT automatically guarantee high intellectual abilities.

Let me give you an example of Haslam's mediocrity. In one of the opening chapters he writes "A handsome Caucasian as a young man... Stalin was nevertheless deeply troubled. And to the surprise of the unsuspecting visitor he was small - no more than five feet four at most, his left lower arm incapacitated from a childhood accident, the torso too short for his arms and legs." Haslam then goes on about Stalin's pockmarked face, poor teeth, bad breath, yellowish eyes, etc.

Need I explain everything that is wrong with the above paragraph? Why is Haslam so concerned about Stalin's size and length of his extremities? And calling the Soviet dictator a "deeply troubled" man is just simply idiotic. But what do you expect from an apologist for the Left? Need the reader be reminded that they are NOT reading an issue of GQ magazine?

As another reviewer keenly pointed out, the years between 1917 and 1943 are covered in only 13 pages, hence even the title is misleading! Did old boy Haslam have troubling researching those o so difficult yet formulating years of the 20th Century?

Spend your money elsewhere, this isnt worth your time.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


Most Helpful First | Newest First

This product

Russia's Cold War: From the October Revolution to the Fall of the Wall
£16.77
In stock
Add to basket Add to wishlist
Only search this product's reviews