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The Cold War, 1945-1991 /

Other Authors: Frankel, Benjamin, 1949-
Format: Book
Language: English
Published: Detroit : Gale Research, 1992
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Review by Booklist Review

With The Cold War, 1945-1991, Gale has pulled off a coup. The Cold War has dominated the international scene in the last half of the twentieth century but has never received quite the attention in reference sources given here. Due to the threat of mutual annihilation by nuclear weapons, the grim rivalry of two vast political, economic, and social systems shaped world events for more than 40 years following World War II. With the recent collapse of the Soviet Union and its Eastern European satellites, a review of the period, although too early to be definitive, is certainly in order. This encyclopedic guide seeks to illuminate the Cold War by its focus upon Western and communist country participants in the struggle and by an analysis of the major themes and events that marked the era. Volume 1 depicts 149 important figures in the U.S. and Western Europe involved in some manner in this conflict. Ranging in length from two to twelve pages, the sketches are uniformly well written. The subjects are familiar (e.g., Acheson, Dulles, DeGaulle, Kennedy, and Thatcher) and less so (e.g., Rab Butler, Dick Clark, Robert W. Komer, Richard Perle, and Albert J. Wohlsetter). Military, scholarly, and journalistic figures are mingled alphabetically with political luminaries. Each biography emphasizes the entrant's role in the Cold War and includes lists of recommended works by and about the person along with a few selected general works. Related entries in other volumes are noted. Each of the entries' authors is named, but unfortunately no further infomation is given about them. Volume 2 similarly sketches 134 important leaders from the Soviet Union, Eastern Europe, China, and Third World nations who comprised the communist-world counterparts of those featured in volume 1. A few foreign names appear as contributors to volume 2, but most appear to be researchers based in the West (on the premise that the winners of a war write its history). Both volumes 1 and 2 have black-and-white photographs for selected entries and their own indexes. Volume 3, subtitled Resources: Chronology, History, Concepts, Events, Organizations, Bibliography, Archives, examines "the major events and themes that dominated the period." Among the concepts, events, organizations covered in this volume are Brinkmanship, Cuban Missile Crisis, and National Security Council. Also included are a 120-page narrative history of the conflict written by general editor Frankel and a cumulative index to all three volumes in the set. The work also has black-and-white photographs. The set should prove of value to all who seek information on the events and the participants most deeply engaged on the postwar international stage. The entries are essentially factual and objective in tone. Editor Frankel is an acknowledged expert on national security issues. He has done a superb job of overseeing the project. The work's cachet is further enhanced by a concise foreword written by Townsend Hoopes, a Defense Department official in the Truman and Johnson administrations and himself a scholar. The entire set is intended to serve as a one-stop reference resource for students ranging from high school age to Ph.D. candidates, as well as for interested citizens. Scholars will eventually produce more definitive treatments of the Cold War, aided by the availability of information only now being declassified and by the benefits of a more remote stance from which to assay those anxious decades. But for the time being, this set will prove useful in academic and public libraries. (Reviewed Aug. 1993)

From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission.
Review by Library Journal Review

The first two volumes of this three-volume set are primarily biographical, focusing on persons who were important during the Cold War and emphasizing their roles in international relations. The third volume complements the first two by providing a chronology, a brief history, and 105 encyclopedia-style articles ranging from a paragraph to several pages on subjects that include the Marshall Plan, the KGB, the AFL-CIO, and the China Lobby. Bibliography and cross references to related articles enhance these entries, which are written by scholars under the editorship of Frankel, a U.S. foreign relations specialist. Still, it is not clear why these topics were included while others were omitted; certainly, the complexities of the 40-year Cold War are by no means exhausted or even fully introduced by the articles here, and material on many of these topics is readily available in other reference books. A 12-page ``selected bibliography,'' a 30-page guide to archival resources, and the index to the three-volume set complete the third volume. No criteria for inclusion in the bibliography are stated, and most entries date from the 1970s. The archival resources noted are only those found at presidential libraries and a few major universities: the focus in this section is almost exclusively on American resources. Though the index is complete, the lack of cross references means that the neophyte researcher may not discover relevant material. Libraries that own the first two volumes will probably want to have Volume 3 as well. However, libraries may find the briefer but otherwise considerably overlapping coverage of the one-volume, less expensive Longman Companion to the Cold War and Detente, 1941-1991 (Longman, 1993) to be adequate for their purposes. For public, academic, and special libraries.-- Barbara Walden, Univ. of Minnesota Libs., Minneapolis (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

(c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.