Cover image for Historical dictionary of the Cold War
Historical dictionary of the Cold War
Smith, Joseph, 1945-
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
Lanham, Md. : Scarecrow Press, [2000]

Physical Description:
xi, 329 pages ; 23 cm.
Added Author:
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
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D843 .S547 2000 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks-Non circulating

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Joseph Smith and Simon Davis have captured the essence and madness of the "balance of terror" of the Cold War in the Historical Dictionary of the Cold War. Covering an extensive period and much of the globe, this dictionary presents a year-by-year chronology and alphabetical entries on civilian and military leaders, crucial countries and peripheral conflicts, the increasingly lethal weapons systems, and the various political and military strategies. While both authors are specialists in American foreign policy and diplomacy, Smith has a particular interest in United States relations with Latin America and Davis in Anglo-American relations. This broader focus is helpful, since it enables the authors to have a broader view of the Cold War, and having studied and lived in Great Britain, they view events from a more neutral perspective. This, and a conscious effort to maintain a scholary balance, enhances the objectivity of this volume. Smith and Davis have produced an easy-to-use reference tool for both the history scholar and student.

Author Notes

Joseph Smith is a reader in American diplomatic history at Exeter University in England. Simon Davis is presently Assistant Professor of History at Bronx Community College of New York City University. Both have written extensively on the period and are specialists in American foreign policy and diplomacy.

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

Entries on civilian and military leaders, key countries, weapons systems, agreements, conferences, and more are accompanied by a day-by-day chronology and an extensive bibliography. This volume joins several others on the topic, including The Cold War Reference Guide (McFarland, 1997), The Columbia Guide to the Cold War (1998), and Encyclopedia of Cold War Politics (Facts On File, 2000).

Library Journal Review

The dangerous Cold War era (1945-91) was one of immense political, cultural, and historical significance. Smith (American diplomatic history, Exeter Univ., U.K.; The Cold War: 1945-1991) and Davis (history, Bronx Community Coll.) provide medium-length to long entries about the important people, organizations, treaties, and events of this period. Persons new to the subject are invited to read the 27-page introduction for a narrative history of the period's main themes and events. The layout and writing of this material make it easy to read, and numerous cross references are embedded in the text of each entry. The book contains a long chronology, a list of acronyms and abbreviations, and a good 33-page bibliography. There are, however, no photographs, maps, or index. Other recent reference works in this field include The Cold War, 1945-1991, edited by Benjamin Frankel (Gale, 1992), Thomas S. Arms's Encyclopedia of the Cold War (LJ 11/15/94), and Thomas Parrish's The Cold War Encyclopedia (LJ 12/1/95). Not surprisingly, The Historical Dictionary has some newer information than these books, which nevertheless have more entries that are more in-depth. The dictionary is a nice complement, but if you have these other books, you can survive without it. It is suitable, however, for all reference collections that do not have comparable resources.DDaniel K. Blewett, Coll. of DuPage Lib., Glen Ellyn, IL (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Choice Review

Published in 1999, the first edition of this work (CH, Dec'00, 38-1937) is now revised and enhanced with supplementary information that became available during the past two decades because of archival declassifications and new historical, political, social, and cultural interpretations of the Cold War. Accessing the primary-source historical documents along with new records has become feasible in different countries, and the communist era is being revisited by scholars worldwide. This second expanded edition by historians Smith (Univ. of Exeter, UK) and Davis (Bronx Community College) includes references to recent historical research and writings that shed new light on the 1945-91 period. The authors' introduction explores the origins of the Cold War; the major players; the parties; the political and military figures and strategies involved; their mission, goals, and objectives; and the collapse of a system that reached a global impact and significance with consequences that will continue to mark the 21st century. The year-by-year chronology is followed by alphabetical entries featuring civilian or military leaders, politicians, and countries the conflict affected. An essay discussing the variety of sources included and their contribution to Cold War historiography precedes the ample bibliography. This second edition augments college and academic library collections supporting historical research in political sciences and foreign relations and in Slavic, Eastern European, and Soviet studies. Summing Up: Recommended. Undergraduates through professionals/practitioners; general readers. --Hermina G.B. Anghelescu, Wayne State University