100 books like Cold War Monks

By Eugene Ford,

Here are 100 books that Cold War Monks fans have personally recommended if you like Cold War Monks. Shepherd is a community of 10,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Book cover of Detroit's Cold War: The Origins of Postwar Conservatism

Hajimu Masuda Author Of Cold War Crucible: The Korean Conflict and the Postwar World

From my list on reconsider what the Cold War really was.

Why am I passionate about this?

Masuda Hajimu (family name Masuda) is a historian at the National University of Singapore. He specializes in the modern history of East Asia, the history of American foreign relations, and the social and global history of the Cold War, with particular attention toward ordinary people and their violence, as well as the recurrent rise of grassroots conservatism in the modern world. His most recent publications include: The Early Cold War: Studies of Cold War America in the 21st Century in A Companion to U.S. Foreign Relations; “The Social Experience of War and Occupation” in The Cambridge History of Japan (coming in 2022), among others. He has served as a residential fellow at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars (2017-18); Visiting Fellow at the University of Cambridge (2020); and Visiting Scholar at Waseda University (2020).

Hajimu's book list on reconsider what the Cold War really was

Hajimu Masuda Why did Hajimu love this book?

I like this book because it forces us to rethink what the Cold War really was. The book identifies key figures in anti-communist crusades in post-World War II Detroit: workers, white homeowners, city officials, Catholics, and manufacturing executives, and argues that the core elements of their “anticommunism” were not fears of Soviet incursion, but sociocultural tensions at home that derived from drastic changes in wartime and postwar Detroit, which observed a sudden influx of African Americans, Southern whites, and immigrants. 

Thus, the book argues that Cold War Detroit’s “anticommunism” was not a new development in the postwar era, but a continuation of what had previously been labeled anti-unionism, white-supremacism, anti-secular Catholicism, and anti-New deal sentiments, all of which can be characterized as expressions of ongoing “anti-modernist” tensions within American society. Such a reexamination of Cold War anti-communism is significant because it could open up new territory for rethinking what anticommunism…

By Colleen Doody,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Detroit's Cold War as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Detroit's Cold War locates the roots of American conservatism in a city that was a nexus of labor and industry in postwar America. Drawing on meticulous archival research focusing on Detroit, Colleen Doody shows how conflict over business values and opposition to labor, anticommunism, racial animosity, and religion led to the development of a conservative ethos in the aftermath of World War II. Using Detroit--with its large population of African-American and Catholic immigrant workers, strong union presence, and starkly segregated urban landscape--as a case study, Doody articulates a nuanced understanding of anticommunism during the Red Scare. Looking beyond national politics,…


Book cover of Securing Sex: Morality and Repression in the Making of Cold War Brazil

Natalia Milanesio Author Of Destape: Sex, Democracy, and Freedom in Postdictatorial Argentina

From my list on the history of sexuality in modern Latin America.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a historian of twentieth-century Argentina and a professor of modern Latin American history currently teaching at the University of Houston. Born and raised in Argentina, I completed my undergraduate studies at the National University of Rosario and moved to the United States in 2000 to continue my education. I received my M.A. in history from New York University and my Ph.D. in history from Indiana University, Bloomington. I have written extensively about gender, working-class history, consumer culture, and sexuality in Argentina. I am the author of Workers Go Shopping in Argentina: The Rise of Popular Consumer Culture and Destape! Sex, Democracy, and Freedom in Postdictatorial Argentina.

Natalia's book list on the history of sexuality in modern Latin America

Natalia Milanesio Why did Natalia love this book?

This book contributes greatly to the global history of the Cold War by showing that “moral technocrats” during the military dictatorship in Brazil equated political subversion with sexual subversion: Anticommunist countersubversion included anxieties about gender, sex, and youth. South American Cold War dictatorships have been traditionally understood as modernizing projects but Cowan complicates the definition by exploring the moral panic, and consequent calls and attempts at repression, related to the sexual revolution, new forms of female sexual expression, and pornography. 

By Benjamin A. Cowan,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Securing Sex as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In this history of right-wing politics in Brazil during the Cold War, Benjamin Cowan puts the spotlight on the Cold Warriors themselves. Drawing on little-tapped archival records, he shows that by midcentury, conservatives-individuals and organizations, civilian as well as military-were firmly situated in a transnational network of right-wing cultural activists. They subsequently joined the powerful hardline constituency supporting Brazil's brutal military dictatorship from 1964 to 1985. There, they lent their weight to a dictatorship that, Cowan argues, operationalized a moral panic that conflated communist subversion with manifestations of modernity, coalescing around the crucial nodes of gender and sexuality, particularly in…


Book cover of African Socialism in Postcolonial Tanzania: Between the Village and the World

Hajimu Masuda Author Of Cold War Crucible: The Korean Conflict and the Postwar World

From my list on reconsider what the Cold War really was.

Why am I passionate about this?

Masuda Hajimu (family name Masuda) is a historian at the National University of Singapore. He specializes in the modern history of East Asia, the history of American foreign relations, and the social and global history of the Cold War, with particular attention toward ordinary people and their violence, as well as the recurrent rise of grassroots conservatism in the modern world. His most recent publications include: The Early Cold War: Studies of Cold War America in the 21st Century in A Companion to U.S. Foreign Relations; “The Social Experience of War and Occupation” in The Cambridge History of Japan (coming in 2022), among others. He has served as a residential fellow at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars (2017-18); Visiting Fellow at the University of Cambridge (2020); and Visiting Scholar at Waseda University (2020).

Hajimu's book list on reconsider what the Cold War really was

Hajimu Masuda Why did Hajimu love this book?

This book is exciting in many ways. It tells a story of Tanzania’s socialist experiment in 1967-75, which was known as “ujamaa” (“familyhood” in Swahili). It shows how Cold War politics intertwined with local situations, and how Tanzanian leaders and common people used Cold War rhetoric to envision and enforce their own national agricultural development program. At a glance, thus, the book can be seen just as another example of the recently growing literature that explores the crossroads between Cold War politics, decolonization, and developmental politics, such as Artemy Kalinovsky’s Laboratory of Socialist Development: Cold War Politics and Decolonization in Soviet Tajikistan (2018) and Begüm Adalet's Hotels and Highways: The Construction of Modernization Theory in Cold War Turkey (2018), to name a few.  

However, what differentiates Lal's book from these others, and what I like most, is that the author conducted more than 100 interviews with ordinary Tanzanians, and documented…

By Priya Lal,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked African Socialism in Postcolonial Tanzania as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Drawing on a wide range of oral and written sources, this book tells the story of Tanzania's socialist experiment: the ujamaa villagization initiative of 1967-75. Inaugurated shortly after independence, ujamaa ('familyhood' in Swahili) both invoked established socialist themes and departed from the existing global repertoire of development policy, seeking to reorganize the Tanzanian countryside into communal villages to achieve national development. Priya Lal investigates how Tanzanian leaders and rural people creatively envisioned ujamaa and documents how villagization unfolded on the ground, without affixing the project to a trajectory of inevitable failure. By forging an empirically rich and conceptually nuanced account…


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

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

From my list on Cold War history published recently.

Why am I passionate about this?

During the later Cold War, I grew up in neutral and peaceful Switzerland. My German mother’s family lived apart in divided Germany. I knew as a child that I would become a historian because I wanted to find out what had happened to my mother’s home and why there was a Cold War in the first place. My father’s service as a Swiss Red Cross delegate in Korea after 1953 raised my interest in East Asia. After learning Russian and Chinese, I wrote my first book on The Sino-Soviet Split. When I was finishing the book, I resolved to reinvent myself as a global historian, which is why I wrote my second book as a reinterpretation of the global Cold War as a series of parallel regional Cold Wars in Asia, the Middle East, and Europe.

Lorenz's book list on Cold War history published recently

Lorenz M. Lüthi Why did Lorenz love 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.

By Taomo Zhou,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Migration in the Time of Revolution as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Migration in the Time of Revolution examines how two of the world's most populous countries interacted between 1945 and 1967, when the concept of citizenship was contested, political loyalty was in question, identity was fluid, and the boundaries of political mobilization were blurred. Taomo Zhou asks probing questions of this important period in the histories of the People's Republic of China and Indonesia. What was it like to be a youth in search of an ancestral homeland that one had never set foot in, or an economic refugee whose expertise in private business became undesirable in one's new home in…


Book cover of Constantine the Emperor

Phillip Barlag Author Of Evil Roman Emperors: The Shocking History of Ancient Rome's Most Wicked Rulers from Caligula to Nero and More

From my list on challenge thinking of the Titans of Roman history.

Why am I passionate about this?

I never set out to read & write so much about Roman history; it was an accident. I happened to visit Rome when I was young, quite poor and decidedly light on my knowledge of Roman history. Five minutes out of the train station and into the streets and I was hooked for life. I had to know more and started reading. Then I found gaps in the library and started writing. Roman history never stops changing, even thousands of years later. New discoveries, new scholarship, new interpretations, all keep Roman history fresh & exciting. I love sharing what I find. Thank you for joining the adventure.

Phillip's book list on challenge thinking of the Titans of Roman history

Phillip Barlag Why did Phillip love this book?

Constantine has come to be synonymous with the conversion of Rome to Christianity, and in the popular imagination the image often goes no further. I certainly always linked the man with this outcome in my mind. But he was so much more. He was ambitious to the point of revolutionary. He was ruthless to the point of megalomaniacal. He both stabilized the Empire and contributed to the factors that led to its fall. This book helped me understand the whole figure of Constantine, contradictions and all.

By David M. Potter,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Constantine the Emperor as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

No Roman emperor had a greater impact on the modern world than did Constantine. The reason is not simply that he converted to Christianity, but that he did so in a way that brought his subjects along after him. Indeed, this major new biography argues that Constantine's conversion is but one feature of a unique administrative style that enabled him to take control of an empire beset by internal rebellions and external threats by Persians and Goths. The vast record of
Constantine's administration reveals a government careful in its exercise of power but capable of ruthless, even savage, actions. Constantine…


Book cover of Aid Imperium: United States Foreign Policy and Human Rights in Post-Cold War Southeast Asia

Bann Seng Tan Author Of International Aid and Democracy Promotion: Liberalization at the Margins

From my list on using foreign aid to do good in a realistic way.

Why am I passionate about this?

Bann Seng Tan is an Assistant Professor of Political Science and International Relations at Ashoka University. His research interests are on the causes and effects of democratization, the politics of foreign aid, the political economy of natural disasters, aid in decentralization, resurgent authoritarianism, and the democratic peace. His policy proclivities revolve around the defence of the liberal world order. Democracy promotion is but one way to push against authoritarianism. 

Bann's book list on using foreign aid to do good in a realistic way

Bann Seng Tan Why did Bann love this book?

Regilme studies the negative impact of US foreign aid on Philippines’s and Thailand’s human rights. He argues that the shared policy expectations between the donors and recipient governments and the domestic legitimacy of recipient regime jointly determine the extent of human rights abuse. The recipients with strong domestic legitimacy need only use the foreign aid on legitimate military threats. This was the case for the Philippines and Thailand in the 1990s. When the domestic legitimacy of the recipient regime is weak, that foreign aid is strategically repurposed to include the repression of the political opposition. This explains the human rights abuse in Thaksin and Arroyo administrations. The book helps us understand how authoritarian aid recipients can manipulate foreign aid to seek political survival. 

By Salvador Santino Fulo Regilme,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Aid Imperium as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Does foreign aid promote human rights? As the world's largest aid donor, the United States has provided foreign assistance to more than 200 countries. Deploying global numerical data on US foreign aid and comparative historical analysis of America's post-Cold War foreign policies in Southeast Asia, Aid Imperium provides the most comprehensive explanation that links US strategic assistance to physical integrity rights outcomes in recipient countries, particularly in ways that previous quantitative studies have systematically ignored. The book innovatively highlights the active political agency of Global South states and actors as they negotiate and chart their political trajectories with the United…


Book cover of Rivers of Iron: Railroads and Chinese Power in Southeast Asia

Brantly Womack Author Of China and Vietnam: The Politics of Asymmetry

From my list on China perspectives.

Why am I passionate about this?

Where you sit determines what you see. China is complex, and so it pays to move around and view it from as many perspectives as possible. My view of China is formed by visits to all of its 31 provinces and to most of its neighbors.  A professor of foreign affairs at the University of Virginia, I have taught and written about Chinese politics for the past forty years, and I have worked with Chinese universities and scholars. This list suggests some excellent books presenting different vantage points on China’s past and present.

Brantly's book list on China perspectives

Brantly Womack Why did Brantly love this book?

Two prominent aspects of China’s recent economic development are its mushrooming network of high-speed rail and its efforts to encourage infrastructure in its neighbors and beyond through the Belt and Road Initiative. The careful research of this book brings the two together. In exploring the different attitudes toward China among its southern neighbors the authors give a concrete account of how involvement is shaped by the prospects, concerns, and politics of each country. Meanwhile, it is clear that China is achieving a new centrality and connectivity in mainland Asia. What remains to be seen is whether a connected Asia is also a unified one.

By David M. Lampton, Selina Ho, Cheng-Chwee Kuik

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Rivers of Iron as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

What China's infamous railway initiative can teach us about global dominance.

In 2013, Chinese President Xi Jinping unveiled what would come to be known as the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI)-a global development strategy involving infrastructure projects and associated financing throughout the world, including Asia, Africa, the Middle East, Europe, and the Americas. While the Chinese government has framed the plan as one promoting transnational connectivity, critics and security experts see it as part of a larger strategy to achieve global dominance. Rivers of Iron examines one aspect of President Xi Jinping's "New Era": China's effort to create an intercountry…


Book cover of Envoy to the Promised Land: The Diaries and Papers of James G. McDonald, 1948-1951

Jeffrey Herf Author Of Israel's Moment: International Support for and Opposition to Establishing the Jewish State, 1945–1949

From my list on history of establishment of the State of Israel.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a historian at the University of Maryland, College Park. In the past forty years, I have published six books and many articles on twentieth-century German history including Reactionary Modernism: Technology Culture and Politics in Weimar and the Third Reich; Divided Memory: The Nazi Past in the Two Germanys; Nazi Propaganda for the Arab World; and Undeclared Wars with Israel: East Germany and the West German Far Left, 1967-1989. My personal interest in German history began at home. My father was one of those very fortunate German Jews who found refuge in the United States before Hitler closed the borders and launched the Holocaust. 

Jeffrey's book list on history of establishment of the State of Israel

Jeffrey Herf Why did Jeffrey love this book?

President Truman appointed James McDonald to be the first U.S. Ambassador to Israel. McDonald’s diaries of 1948-1951 offer fascinating insights into the key events surrounding the establishment of the Jewish state. The diaries offer revealing and astute observations of the personalities and policies of Truman, Secretary of State George Marshall, British Foreign Minister Ernest Bevin, the Jewish Agency’s leading foreign policymaker, Moshe Shertok (later Moshe Sharett), and leader of the Jewish Agency and future Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion. McDonald was that unusual American diplomat who, in those years, supported Zionist aspirations. The McDonald diaries are required reading for anyone seeking a deeper grasp of the founding months and years of the state of Israel.

By James G. McDonald,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Envoy to the Promised Land as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Just before Israel emerged as a state in May 1948, key United States officials hesitated and backtracked. Undersecretary of State Robert Lovett told Moshe Sharett of the Jewish Agency for Palestine that the US had expected a peaceful transition to dual states in Palestine. Now, war between Jews and Arabs and a broader regional conflict loomed. Apart from the Cold War repercussions, another mass slaughter of Jews would roil the US in a presidential election year.

James G. McDonald arrived in Israel soon after its birth, serving as US special representative and later as its first ambassador. McDonald continued his…


Book cover of The Problem of Democracy: America, the Middle East, and the Rise and Fall of an Idea

Sean Yom Author Of From Resilience to Revolution: How Foreign Interventions Destabilize the Middle East

From my list on democracy and dictatorship in the Middle East.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have always been interested in the politics of democracy and dictatorship. Governing is a funny business: the masses must entrust a very few to lead them, and often with vast power. Where does that trust come from? And why do some rulers act so viciously while others serve with grace? Understanding these very human concerns is a worthy pursuit of knowledge.

Sean's book list on democracy and dictatorship in the Middle East

Sean Yom Why did Sean love this book?

In the twenty-first century, the US began promoting democracy in the Middle East, either by war (as in Iraq) or through peaceful diplomacy, as in everywhere else. The problem, as this book divulges, is that transplanting American political and cultural values into the Arab world was bound to create unacceptable outcomes. Among them was the rise of Islamist movements, whose ideas seemed repugnant to many Americans. The cunning solution to this contradiction: the US should still call for elections in the region as a political goal, but leave all talk of cultural and social freedoms aside.

By Shadi Hamid,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Problem of Democracy as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Shadi Hamid reimagines the ongoing debate on democracy's merits and proposes an ambitious agenda for reviving the lost art of democracy promotion in the world's most undemocratic regions.

What happens when democracy produces "bad" outcomes? Is democracy good because of its outcomes or despite them? This "democratic dilemma" is one of the most persistent, vexing problems for America abroad, particularly in the Middle East-we want democracy in theory but not necessarily in practice.

When Islamist parties rise to power through free elections, the United States has too often been ambivalent or opposed, preferring instead pliable dictators. With this legacy of…


Book cover of The Oil Kings: How the U.S., Iran, and Saudi Arabia Changed the Balance of Power in the Middle East

Randall Fowler Author Of More Than a Doctrine: The Eisenhower Era in the Middle East

From my list on American (mis)adventures in the Middle East.

Why am I passionate about this?

I'm a Communication professor at Fresno Pacific University and former Fulbright grantee to Jordan. Growing up in west Texas I was always fascinated with other countries. I encountered Arabic in college, and I quickly fell in love with a language and society that reminded me so much of my home—in fact, the word “haboob” is used by Texas farmers and Bedouin herders alike to describe a violent dust storm. While I was teaching English in Amman, I realized how much I enjoy learning how different cultures come to understand one another. My driving passion is to explore the centuries-long rhetorical history tying Americans and Middle Easterners together in mutual webs of (mis)representation, and this topic has never been more relevant than today.

Randall's book list on American (mis)adventures in the Middle East

Randall Fowler Why did Randall love this book?

A highly readable tome, Cooper’s account of how the oil politics of the 1970s revolutionized U.S. foreign policy and the Persian Gulf is a must-read for anyone who wants to know more about the political landscape of the Middle East. Cooper traces the personal interactions among the Shah of Iran, Richard Nixon, Henry Kissinger, Gerald Ford, and the House of Saud in the midst of the 1973 Arab-Israeli War, the consequent oil embargo, the formation of OPEC, and the early stirrings of revolution in Iran. Perhaps most helpful, this book dispels many misperceptions about Iran under the Shah while also showing how the United States played an integral role in weakening his regime prior to the 1979 revolution.

By Andrew Scott Cooper,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Oil Kings as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

“Relying on a rich cache of previously classified notes, transcripts, cables, policy briefs, and memoranda, Andrew Cooper explains how oil drove, even corrupted, American foreign policy during a time when Cold War imperatives still applied,”* and tells why in the 1970s the U.S. switched its Middle East allegiance from the Shah of Iran to the Saudi royal family.

While America struggles with a recess ion, oil prices soar, revolution rocks the Middle East, European nations risk defaulting on their loans, and the world teeters on the brink of a possible global financial crisis. This is not a description of the…


5 book lists we think you will like!

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