8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
Brilliant for A Level Modern History (OCR)!!,
This review is from: The Origins of the Cold War, 1941-1949 (Seminar Studies In History) (Paperback)
This book was like the bible when it came to my OCR A Level Modern History course. For A Level students, the course structure alters slightly from AS as more emphasis is placed on historiography, mainly the perspectives and premises of other historians, Orthodox, Revionist and Post-revisionist, all of which McCauley covers in detail. McCauley himself is referred to by many OCR exam papers for this course, thus to understand his style of writing and his perspectives regarding any of the themes covered by the Cold War syllabus is always a plus. Without dragging on, I'll try and summarise the best points:
+ Detailed description of the three principal theories (as mentioned above) with excellent and appropriate reference to many other historians, (i.e. Schlesinger (orthodox), Leffler (revisionist) and Gaddis (post-revisionist);
+ The popular exam themes (i.e. whether it was Soviet or US expansionism that stimulated the Cold War) are addressed one by one with solid evidence for both and a neutral point of view thus allowing the student to arrive at their own conlcusion;
+ Consistent chronological structure so everything seems to flow and you can reference back quite easily;
+ Superb reference tools:
- Detailed timeline;
- Sources from historians (as mentioned above) and significant figures such as Churchill, Truman and of course, Stalin;
- A "Who's Who?" section which summarises each of the important figures during the period;
- Comprehensive narrative of all actions (e.g. A-bombs, WW2) and policies ( US, British and Soviet) and the influences they had on the instigation and development of the Cold War until 1949.
The only negative is that there is a lot of prose and you have to be prepared to read the majority of it in order to use this book to its full potential. Simply a MUST HAVE for the course and I suggest buying your own as then you can scribble as many notes as you want!
Hope this helped!
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