Cold War Endgame

Oral History, Analysis, Debates

Edited by William C. Wohlforth

Hardback - £78.95

Publication date:

11 February 2003

Length of book:

352 pages

Publisher

Penn State University Press

ISBN-13: 9780271022376

Cold War Endgame is the product of an unusual collaborative effort by policy makers and scholars to promote better understanding of how the Cold War ended. It includes the transcript of a conference, hosted by former Secretary of State James Baker and former Soviet Foreign Minister Alexander Bessmertnykh, in which high-level veterans of the Bush and Gorbachev governments shared their recollections and interpretations of the crucial events of 1989–91: the revolutions in Eastern Europe; the reunification of Germany; the Persian Gulf War; the August 1991 coup; and the collapse of the USSR.

Taking this testimony as a common reference and drawing on the most recent evidence available, six chapters follow in which historians and political scientists explore the historical and theoretical puzzles presented by this extraordinary transition. This discussion features a debate over the relative importance of ideas, personality, and economic pressures in explaining the Cold War's end.

“This is a first-rate book for anyone interested in the Cold War and international relations theory. William Wohlforth has done an excellent job of compiling and annotating transcripts from an oral history conference that brought together former Soviet and American officials, and he has carefully integrated the transcripts with substantive chapters by well-regarded authors, making a cohesive whole. The book sheds valuable light not only on the end of the Cold War, but on key theoretical issues in the field of international relations.”

—Mark Kramer, Director, Cold War Studies Project, Harvard University