To write an engaging and wide-ranging history of the Cold War decades in 266 pages is no mean feat, but Gaddis has, on the whole, achieved this.
Obviously, it's easy to criticise what he may have left out - perhaps a closer examination of the economic dynamics within the Soviet system towards the end of the priod might have been useful, while there are only perfunctory glimpses of the "proxy" conflicts which played out in the developing world. Intended or not, the author's soft spot for Reagan is obvious in the later chapters, while the manifold failings of later Soviet leaders, Gorbachev largely exempted, are laid bare with a certain relish.
Nevertheless, this is a concise, lively and popular historical account of the Cold War, enlivened by judicious use of quotations from the key players and candid assessments of political leaders, both East and West.
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