The best books on Cold War history published recently

Lorenz M. Lüthi Author Of Cold Wars: Asia, the Middle East, Europe
By Lorenz M. Lüthi

The Books I Picked & Why

Migration in the Time of Revolution: China, Indonesia, and the Cold War

By Taomo Zhou

Migration in the Time of Revolution: China, Indonesia, and the Cold War

Why this book?

Migration in the Time of Revolution pushes the international history of the 20th century into a new and exciting direction. Using the Chinese diaspora in Indonesia as a lens, Taomo Zhou elevates citizens to agents in international relations. On the basis of Chinese archival research and oral history, she explores how Indonesians of Chinese descent lastingly influenced the diplomatic relations between their home country and divided China during the Cold War.


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Mao's Third Front: The Militarization of Cold War China

By Covell F. Meyskens

Mao's Third Front: The Militarization of Cold War China

Why this book?

Mao's Third Front is one of the first books on life and the economy in the PRC of the Cultural Revolution that marries archival research to memoirs and oral history. Largely unknown outside of China, the Third Front was a strategic relocation program of vital industries and whole cities to the country’s hinterland during the 2nd Vietnam War and the Cultural Revolution. It essentially amounted to the largest government investment program in the Mao period. Meyskens’s book manifestly shows how closely the global Cold War and local developments interacted with each other.


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Latin America and the Global Cold War

By Thomas C. Field, Stella Krepp, Vanni Pettinà

Latin America and the Global Cold War

Why this book?

An edited collection, Latin America and the Global Cold War actually does what the field of Cold War studies has talked about for decades—decentering the Cold War. Breaking with the long-standing idea that Latin America was merely the backyard of U.S. imperialism, the 14 contributions show how deeply Latin American countries were connected to other parts of the Global South. Bringing together junior and senior scholars from three continents, the volume is a refreshing and a much-needed eye-opener for all historians of international relations.


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A Full-Value Ruble: The Promise of Prosperity in the Postwar Soviet Union

By Kristy Ironside

A Full-Value Ruble: The Promise of Prosperity in the Postwar Soviet Union

Why this book?

A Full-Value Ruble is economic history at its best. Using Soviet archival materials for both the Stalin and Khrushchev periods, Kristy Ironside shows how indispensable money was to an economy that, for ideological reasons, aimed at abolishing it. But a strong ruble (and not just any currency) did not mean that the underlying economy was strong. Using money as a lens, the author provides the reader with a multi-faceted view of Soviet urban and rural daily life in peace, war, and reconstruction.


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The Human Rights Dictatorship: Socialism, Global Solidarity and Revolution in East Germany

By Ned Richardson-Little

The Human Rights Dictatorship: Socialism, Global Solidarity and Revolution in East Germany

Why this book?

Ned Richardson-Little explores the mostly forgotten history of the human rights discourse in a Communist dictatorship. Believe it or not, East Germany tried to pose as a promoter of human rights in international and domestic affairs. It spent much effort and many resources on constructing an alternative to Western-dominated human rights debates. Even if Communist Germany disappeared in 1989/90, its warped human rights discourse beforehand had exerted a major influence on dissidents and their increasing opposition to the authoritarian police state in which they were living.


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