Synopses & Reviews
A sweeping history of the Cold Wars many hot” wars born in the last gasps of empire
The Cold War reigns in popular imagination as a period of tension between the two post-World War II superpowers, the United States and the Soviet Union, without direct conflict. Drawing from new archival research, prize-winning historian Michael Burleigh gives new meaning to the seminal decades of 1945 to 1965 by examining the many, largely forgotten, hot” wars fought around the world. As once-great Western colonial empires collapsed, counter-insurgencies campaigns raged in the Philippines, the Congo, Iran, and other faraway places. Dozens of new nations struggled into existence, the legacies of which are still felt today. Placing these vicious struggles alongside the period-defining United States and Soviet standoffs in Korea, Vietnam, and Cuba, Burleigh swerves from Algeria to Kenya, to Vietnam and Kashmir, interspersing top-level diplomatic negotiations with portraits of the charismatic local leaders. The result is a dazzling work of history, a searing analysis of the legacy of imperialism and a reminder of just how the United States became the worlds great enforcer.
"Following the end of WWII, colonial empires collapsed, the Soviet Union and the U.S. dug in for the Cold War, and 'hot' conflicts erupted across the globe. In this intriguing history, Burleigh (The Third Reich) surveys these forgotten wars and the people that fought them, ranging in his tale from Southeast Asia to the Middle East, Africa, and the Caribbean. He strikes a good balance between profiling those at the top, such as Winston Churchill (whose decision to remain prime minister in 1953 after suffering a major stroke Burleigh characterizes as 'the final, desperate act of a wholly self-centered life'), and those on the ground, like Irene Lee, a Chinese detective who helped destroy the Malayan communist intelligence network after communists killed her husband. Burleigh is hard-hitting in his take on the consequences of the vacuum left behind in the wake of departing colonial powers, especially in his depiction of the Viet Minh's decisive victory over the French at Dien Bien Phu and Britain's botched handling of the Suez Crisis. Slyly humorous and wonderfully detailed, Burleigh's vivid narrative does justice to the lesser-known struggles of a complex era. Agent: Andrew Wylie and Scott Moyers, Wylie Agency (U.K.)." Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
About the Author
Michael Burleigh is the author of a dozen books, including The Third Reich: A New History, which won the 2001 Samuel Johnson Prize for Non-Fiction. His work has been translated into twenty languages, and in 2012 he was awarded the prestigious Nonino International Master of His Time Prize. He lives in London.