The Cold War (John Lewis Gaddis)
I just finished reading The Cold War: A New History by John Lewis Gaddis. I'm young enough to have missed the height of the Cold War Era, so my memory of it only exists in current references and my parent's discussions when I was a little babe. I went 22 years without knowing the extensive history and could only reference the very basics (Macarthyism, Cuban Missle Crisis, Berlin Wall, ...). This particular book was recommended to me by my best friend forever, Ben Feldman (a co-worker of mine at Red Room). I usually stick to fiction in my free time, but I decided to take a risk and read a historical text. I was relieved after reading the introduction; Gaddis mentioned that he has been a professor of Cold War history for years. He only decided to write this book after one of his students politely suggested to him that his assigned books were dense, dry, and boring. Soon after this conversation, Gaddis decided to write a Cold War history book that was concise, to the point, and easy to read. As a first time reader of Cold War material, I found the book interesting and easy to read. I can imagine that it is difficult to write a short book about international politics and wartime strategy that spans over 40 years, and he accomplished this in 350 pages!
Anywho, for somebody that does not have a lot of time on their hands and wants to get a clear picture of The Cold War Era, I suggest reading Gaddis' book. It will be worth your time, and you will feel more intelligent afterwards.