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The Cold War: A New Oral History of Life Between East and West

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The Cold War is one of the furthest-reaching and longest-lasting conflicts in modern history. It spanned the globe - from Greece to China, Hungary to Cuba - and lasted for almost half a century. It has shaped political relations to this day, drawing new physical and ideological boundaries between East and West. In this meticulously researched account, Bridget Kendall explor The Cold War is one of the furthest-reaching and longest-lasting conflicts in modern history. It spanned the globe - from Greece to China, Hungary to Cuba - and lasted for almost half a century. It has shaped political relations to this day, drawing new physical and ideological boundaries between East and West. In this meticulously researched account, Bridget Kendall explores the Cold War through the eyes of those who experienced it first-hand. Alongside in-depth analysis that explains the historical and political context, the book draws on exclusive interviews with individuals who lived through the conflict's key events, offering a variety of perspectives that reveal how the Cold War was experienced by ordinary people. From pilots making food drops during the Berlin Blockade and Japanese fishermen affected by H-bomb testing to families fleeing the Korean War and children whose parents were victims of McCarthy's Red Scare, The Cold War covers the full geographical and historical reach of the conflict. Accompanying a landmark BBC Radio 4 series, A New Oral History of Life Between East and West is essential reading for anyone seeking to understand how the tensions of the last century have shaped the modern world, and what it was like to live through them.


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The Cold War is one of the furthest-reaching and longest-lasting conflicts in modern history. It spanned the globe - from Greece to China, Hungary to Cuba - and lasted for almost half a century. It has shaped political relations to this day, drawing new physical and ideological boundaries between East and West. In this meticulously researched account, Bridget Kendall explor The Cold War is one of the furthest-reaching and longest-lasting conflicts in modern history. It spanned the globe - from Greece to China, Hungary to Cuba - and lasted for almost half a century. It has shaped political relations to this day, drawing new physical and ideological boundaries between East and West. In this meticulously researched account, Bridget Kendall explores the Cold War through the eyes of those who experienced it first-hand. Alongside in-depth analysis that explains the historical and political context, the book draws on exclusive interviews with individuals who lived through the conflict's key events, offering a variety of perspectives that reveal how the Cold War was experienced by ordinary people. From pilots making food drops during the Berlin Blockade and Japanese fishermen affected by H-bomb testing to families fleeing the Korean War and children whose parents were victims of McCarthy's Red Scare, The Cold War covers the full geographical and historical reach of the conflict. Accompanying a landmark BBC Radio 4 series, A New Oral History of Life Between East and West is essential reading for anyone seeking to understand how the tensions of the last century have shaped the modern world, and what it was like to live through them.

30 review for The Cold War: A New Oral History of Life Between East and West

  1. 4 out of 5

    Ehsan Choudhry

    One of the best history books i have ever read. 700 pages long, yet you dont get bored- not even for a second. Every chapter is followed by a narration of events by ordinary people- children, mothers, father's, soldiers, activists & politicians- who actually lived and breathed through those historical moments, giving the book a very fascinating touch. A highly recommended read for a concise overview of the entire cold war era. P.s The book is biased against the soviet union in favour of the west One of the best history books i have ever read. 700 pages long, yet you dont get bored- not even for a second. Every chapter is followed by a narration of events by ordinary people- children, mothers, father's, soldiers, activists & politicians- who actually lived and breathed through those historical moments, giving the book a very fascinating touch. A highly recommended read for a concise overview of the entire cold war era. P.s The book is biased against the soviet union in favour of the western capitalist states, but then again which book doesnt have its biases?

  2. 4 out of 5

    Noah Dommaschk

    This is one of the best history books I have ever read. A fantastic structure of brief political context on each chapter followed by interviews with people who were actually there makes it easy to follow complex issues of the Cold War. This is something I really liked. The stories brought through narration of the interviews made the events tangible to the reader and enjoyable to read, better than pure facts and figures of the events. And this is something that many books should do. Because often This is one of the best history books I have ever read. A fantastic structure of brief political context on each chapter followed by interviews with people who were actually there makes it easy to follow complex issues of the Cold War. This is something I really liked. The stories brought through narration of the interviews made the events tangible to the reader and enjoyable to read, better than pure facts and figures of the events. And this is something that many books should do. Because often when reading history we forget the story of the individual and forget the story of emotion. But this book made sure that the reader is aware of individual stories. I really liked this aspect. Each chapter had more interviews in it than fact, so it didn't even feel like I read 600 pages of Cold War history within a week. Just as it was when I read enemy at the gates, this book capitlises on accounts of persons making the story of the Cold War a nice narration to follow. Not much prerequisite knowledge is needed, so anyone with an interest in history can jump in to this book, but a bit of knowledge before hand helps of course. As a german, I was particularly involved in reading the chapters discussing my country's history.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Nathan Martin

    I’ve been fascinated by the Cold War for many years and in the last few years have read a couple of books on the subject which I have really enjoyed. This book takes it to another level. It’s appeal is that rather than giving an overview of the Cold War, it focuses directly on the experiences of people throughout the various events such as the Korean War, Cuban Missile Crisis, Berlin Wall, Vietnam War. But also events which are not always covered in depth such as the Greek Civil War, Italian ele I’ve been fascinated by the Cold War for many years and in the last few years have read a couple of books on the subject which I have really enjoyed. This book takes it to another level. It’s appeal is that rather than giving an overview of the Cold War, it focuses directly on the experiences of people throughout the various events such as the Korean War, Cuban Missile Crisis, Berlin Wall, Vietnam War. But also events which are not always covered in depth such as the Greek Civil War, Italian election of 1948, Congo Crisis and Angolan Civil War. The insights into the thoughts and feelings of ordinary people and how the Cold War impacted upon their lives is fascinating. The book is so easy to read and by the end I was able to piece together much better why the world was the way it was when I was growing up in the 80s and 90s and why to this day, some of these issues still remain. I highly recommend this book.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Kieran

    The Cold War is often referred to as a war of thought, a confrontation, the war that didn’t happen. That isn’t true. From the dying days of the Second World War, as Greece descended into civil war, to the implosion of the Eastern bloc in 1989-91, this book tells the story of the Cold War through the voices of those for whom the Cold War was very much a real, lived experience.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Julia

    This book is extremely informative and interesting- because of its wide variety of first hand accounts, it shows the human side of decades of conflicts and episodes. It brings international affairs back down to earth by reminding the real human costs of politics and ideology.

  6. 5 out of 5

    JS

    Excellent work and a timely read. Short essays about many events from across the world are followed by commentaries from the people who lived through each event.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Anton Lönnebo

    Read this book. Interviews and portraits of people from all sides of the cold war.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Mark

    A very good, clear and well-written book which examines the Cold War through they eyes of some who were affected directly by it. Includes an externsive further reading list for deeper study.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Justin Sarginson

    Nice format, which is essentially a lite bite menu of the history of communism and the reactions from the other sides.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Mark Davidson

    When the concept is a five-star one. And it is. Kendall’s book collects eye-witness, typically civilian accounts, of the major events of the Cold War - a huge expanse in time, nearly fifty years, and global coverage, “from Greece to China, Hungary to Cuba.” It’s an undeniably good idea. But the concept suffers in this format. The cold war, here, doesn’t feel like a cohesive whole, each event, the blockade of Berlin for example, does feel almost entirely its own. I was often left wanting more on When the concept is a five-star one. And it is. Kendall’s book collects eye-witness, typically civilian accounts, of the major events of the Cold War - a huge expanse in time, nearly fifty years, and global coverage, “from Greece to China, Hungary to Cuba.” It’s an undeniably good idea. But the concept suffers in this format. The cold war, here, doesn’t feel like a cohesive whole, each event, the blockade of Berlin for example, does feel almost entirely its own. I was often left wanting more on a certain topic, but of course everything is dealt with so quickly. I didn’t finish The Cold War primarily because of its disjointedness, I had no sense of being compelled back to it, indeed I sometimes actively avoided it. But it is a great concept. The content is good, Kendall’s introductions are informative and the accounts of eyewitnesses, though they lack the beauty of refined writing, still convey many feelings of what that time was like for them. The book succeeds in every way except in being compelling. The radio show, the partner to this book is available to UK listeners on BBC sounds and it’s definitely better suited for the format. Firstly, it is literally ‘oral’. Secondly, it often features contemporary newsbites, a more engaging method of conveying historic information - well, a more “active” way of doing so at least.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Denis Drobny

  12. 4 out of 5

    Paul

  13. 4 out of 5

    Javier Merchan

  14. 5 out of 5

    Gavin Richards

  15. 5 out of 5

    James Gillan

  16. 4 out of 5

    Antonios Karkatsoulis

  17. 5 out of 5

    Tom Gormley

  18. 5 out of 5

    Debbie Cleaveley

  19. 5 out of 5

    Barbora Sahánková

  20. 4 out of 5

    Jen

  21. 4 out of 5

    Kevin Goddard

  22. 4 out of 5

    Sue H

  23. 5 out of 5

    Terence Hubble

  24. 4 out of 5

    Dermot Nolan

  25. 5 out of 5

    Giles

  26. 4 out of 5

    Anne Davies

  27. 4 out of 5

    Steve

  28. 4 out of 5

    Marta Slaninková

  29. 4 out of 5

    Jaccuse

  30. 5 out of 5

    Felipe Rodríguez

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