The Cold War: A World History
by Odd Arne Westad
For the Soul of Mankind: The United States, the Soviet Union, and the Cold War
by Melvyn P Leffler
Russia and the Idea of the West
by Robert English
The Enigma of 1989: The USSR and the Liberation of Eastern Europe
Jacques Lévesque (trans. Keith Martin)
Reagan and Gorbachev
by Jack Matlock
American military and economic superiority cannot explain why the Cold War came to an end in the late 1980s and early 1990s. According to the historian Archie Brown, you need to accept the primacy of politics and human agency both in the USSR and the West. He chooses five books to understand the Cold War and offers some broader reflections on the qualities of good political leadership—then and now.
Ordinary Men: Reserve Police Battalion 101 and the Final Solution in Poland
by Christopher Browning
Jews, Germans, and Allies: Close Encounters in Occupied Germany
by Atina Grossmann
A Brief Stop on the Road from Auschwitz
by Goran Rosenberg
Dissonant Lives: Generations and Violence Through the German Dictatorships
by Mary Fulbrook
Stasiland: Stories from Behind the Berlin Wall
by Anna Funder
In the 20th century, Germany suffered defeat in two world wars and withstood two kinds of dictatorship. Yet today it is Europe’s strongest economy. Hester Vaizey, fellow of Clare College, Cambridge, and author of Born in the GDR, selects five brilliant books on a tumultuous century.
Robert Chandler, one of the best known translators of Russian literature, recommends some of his favourite tales of Soviet Russia. There’s the one about a dog in space and the one about the Soviet café which stocked nothing but champagne and Mars bars…
Author Jeremy Duns says Maksim Isaev was a kind of Soviet James Bond and when they rerun the old black and white TV shows the Russian crime rate drops because everyone is indoors watching them
Reading about Russia’s 20th century is like finding another vision of how the world might have been. Francis Spufford, author of Red Plenty, recommends books that tell the story of Russia in the last century — from Soviet science fiction set in capitalist wastelands to Khrushchev as raconteur.
Mary Elise Sarotte, holder of the Kravis Chair in Historical Studies at Johns Hopkins, discusses five books on the end of the Cold War and East Germany’s attempts to grapple with its new future post-reunification
The author and academic talks about KGB tricks to get American victims of the Great Depression in Russia to take Soviet citizenship. ‘They had to hand over their American passports temporarily and never saw them again’
Best-selling author Thomas Keneally explains that the Cold War biographies couldn’t afford to say that Stalin was attractive, or that Lenin was magnetic, but they were, because otherwise people wouldn’t have followed them. He picks some great introductions to Revolutionary Russia.