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The Cold War

Our Cold War History series looks at the great battle between the USA and USSR over more than four decades. We discuss the nuclear bomb threat and the many shocking events that took place in countries and regions all over the world during the war. 

We look at events including the Cuban Missile Crisis, Korean War, Vietnam War, the Berlin Wall, Prague Spring, detente, the rise of opposition groups in the Eastern bloc, and the history of nuclear weapons. 

Then in Cold War People we take a peek into the lives of some of the key people involved in the Cold War. Stalin, Churchill, Kennedy, Eisenhower, Khrushchev, Mao, Nixon... To name but a few!

And don't forget - we have two books out on the Cold War. Click on the book images for more information!

PS - further reading is available at the bottom of this page!


Cold War History Podcasts

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Cold War People Podcasts

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Cold War Series reading

Below are some recommended books for each of the episodes in the Cold War series. We hope you enjoy reading them as much as we did! Do feel free to contact us with any specific reading questions.


Episode 1 – An Introduction

  • The Cold War by John Lewis Gaddis
  • The Cold War: A Very Short Introduction by Robert J McMahon
  • The Cold War and the Making of the Modern World by Martin Walker
  • The Cold War (Cambridge Perspective in History) by Mike Sewell
  • The Cold War: 1945-1991 (Lancaster Pamphlets) by John W Mason


Episode 2 – Europe 1945-1954

  • Europe and the Cold War, 1945-1991 by David Williamson
  • The Origins of the Cold War, 1941-1949 (Seminar Studies in History) by Martin McCauley
  • Yalta: The Price of Peace by S.M Plokhy
  • Our Supreme Task: How Winston Churchill’s Iron Curtain Speech Defined the Cold War Alliance by Philip White
  • The Berlin Airlift by Ann Tusa and John Tusa


Episode 3 – Korean War

  • Korea’s Place in the Sun: A Modern History by Bruce Cummings
  • The Korean War (Pan Military Classics) by Sir Max Hastings
  • A Short History of the Korean War by James L Stokesbury
  • Odd Man Out: Truman, Stalin, Mao and the Origins of the Korean War by Richard C Thornton
  • Outposts of Empire: Korea, Vietnam and the Origins of the Cold War in Asia, 1949-1954 byStephen Hugh Lee


Episode 4 – Cuban Missile Crisis

  • Thirteen Days: A Memoir of the Cuban Missile Crisis by Robert F Kennedy
  • The Cuban Missile Crisis: A Concise History by Don Munton andDavid A Welch
  • The History of Cuba (Palgrave Essential Histories) by Clifford L Staten
  • Nuclear Weapons: A Very Short Introduction by Joseph M Siracusa
  • Bomb Scare: The History and Future of Nuclear Weapons byJoseph Cirincione


Episode 5 – Vietnam War

  • The Vietnam War 1956-1975 (Essential Histories) by Andy Wiest
  • 10,000 Days of Thunder: A History of the Vietnam War by Philip Caputo
  • Vietnam: A History by Stanley Karnow
  • The Routledge Companion to Decolonization by Dietmar Rothermund
  • China and the Vietnam Wars, 1950-1975 (New Cold War History) by Qiang Zhai


Episode 6 – Europe 1950s & 1960s

  • Twelve Days: Revolution 1956. How the Hungarians tried to topple their Soviet masters byVictor Sebestyen
  • Berlin 1961: Kennedy, Khrushchev, and the Most Dangerous Place on Earth by Frederick Kempe
  • Khrushchev: The Man and His Era by William Taubman
  • Charles De Gaulle: A Biography by Don Cook
  • The Prague Spring and its Aftermath: Czechoslovak Politics, 1968-1970 by Kieran Williams


Episode 7 – Great Powers and Detente

  • Detente and Confrontation: American-Soviet Relations from Nixon to Reagan by Raymond L Garthoff
  • Detente and the Nixon Doctrine: American Foreign Policy and the Pursuit of Stability, 1969-1976 (LSE Monographs in International Studies) by Robert S Litwak
  • Nixon and Mao: The Week that Changed the World byMargaret MacMillan
  • The Sino-Soviet Split: Cold War in the Communist World (Princeton Studies in International History and Politics) by Lorenz M Luthi


Episode 8 – Capitalist & Communist Economies

  • Catching Up and Falling Behind: Economic Convergence in Europe by UNECE
  • The Veil of Communism: An Analysis of Lifespan, GDP per Capita, Human Capital, and Agricultural Productivity in Eastern Europe by Matei Dăian
  • The European Economy 1914-2000 by Derek Aldcroft
  • The Rise and Fall of the Soviet Economy: An Economic History of the USSR from 1945 by Philip Hanson
  • The Golden Age of Economic Growth in Western Europe, 1950-73 (Warwick Economic Research Papers) by Nick Crafts


Episode 9 – Cold War Renewed

  • The Soviet-Afghan War 1979-89 (Essential Histories – Osprey Publishing) by Gregory Fremont-Barnes
  • The Polish Revolution: Solidarity by Timothy Garton Ash
  • Arsenals of Folly: The Making of the Nuclear Arms Race (Vintage) by Richard Rhodes
  • The Dead Hand: Reagan, Gorbachev and the Untold Story of the Cold War Arms Race by David E Hoffman
  • Planning Reagan’s War: Conservative Strategists and America’s Cold War Victory by Francis H Marlo


Episode 10 – The end of the Cold War

  • Reagan and Gorbachev: How the Cold War Ended by Jack F Matlock
  • Gorbachev and His Revolution (European History in Perspective) byMark Galeotti
  • Revolution 1989: The Fall of the Soviet Empire by Victor Sebestyen
  • The Fall of Soviet Communism, 1986-1991 (Studies in European History) by Jeremy Smith