The Encyclopedia of the Cold War

A Political, Social, and Military History

by Spencer C. Tucker, Editor
Priscilla Mary Roberts, Editor, Documents Volume
Foreword by John S. D. Eisenhower


The confrontation of Western capitalism and Soviet and Chinese Communism shaped world affairs for almost the entire second half of the 20th century—a period defined by pervasive political tension, nuclear-fueled nightmares, intense diplomacy, and the transformation of regional/national disputes into test-case ideological battlefields where the superpowers squared off.

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Cover image for The Encyclopedia of the Cold War

September 2007


Pages 1969
Volumes 5
Size 8 1/2x11
Topics Military History/Conflict and Wars
  • Award Winner!




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A comprehensive five-volume reference on the defining conflict of the second half of the 20th century, covering all aspects of the Cold War as it influenced events around the world.

The conflict that dominated world events for nearly five decades is now captured in a multivolume work of unprecedented magnitude—from a publisher widely acclaimed for its authoritative military and historical references. Under the direction of internationally known military historian Spencer Tucker, ABC-CLIO's The Encyclopedia of the Cold War: A Political, Social, and Military History offers the most current and comprehensive treatment ever published of the ideological conflict that not so long ago enveloped the globe.

From the Second World War to the collapse of the Soviet Union, The Encyclopedia of the Cold War provides authoritative information on all military conflicts, battlefield and surveillance technologies, diplomatic initiatives, important individuals and organizations, national histories, economic developments, societal and cultural events, and more. The nearly 1,300 entries, plus topical essays and an extraordinarily rich documents volume, draw heavily on recently opened Russian, Eastern European, and Chinese archives. The work is a definitive cornerstone reference on one of the most important historical topics of our time.


  • 1,299 entries covering all facets of the Cold War from its origins to its aftermath, including all political, diplomatic, military, social, economic, and cultural aspects of the conflict
  • Over 200 internationally recognized contributors from around the world, many writing about events and issues from the perspective of their country of origin
  • Over 175 original documents—a collection that draws heavily on recently opened files from archives in China, Eastern Europe, and the former Soviet Union
  • More than 470 powerful images and illustrations plus 47 maps detailing specific military conflicts and movements of various groups
  • Indexes that are both alphabetically and categorically organized, covering people, places, events, weapons systems, and more


  • The most comprehensive and up-to-date major reference ever published on the Cold War
  • Informed by the intensive current research into the recently opened archives in former Communist countries
  • Full coverage of all major wars in the Cold War era, including Korea, the Arab-Israeli Wars, and conflicts in Indochina
  • Wide ranging coverage goes beyond military and political topics to encompass cultural events, such as art, music, and literature
Author Info

Spencer C. Tucker, PhD, graduated from the Virginia Military Institute and was a Fulbright scholar in France. He was a U.S. Army captain and intelligence analyst in the Pentagon during the Vietnam War, then taught for 30 years at Texas Christian University before returning to his alma mater for 6 years as the holder of the John Biggs Chair of Military History. He retired from teaching in 2003. He is now Senior Fellow of Military History at ABC-CLIO. Dr. Tucker has written or edited 36 books, including ABC-CLIO's award-winning The Encyclopedia of the Arab-Israeli Conflict, as well as the comprehensive A Global Chronology of Conflict.

Priscilla Mary Roberts, PhD, is an associate professor of history and Honorary Director of the Centre of American Studies at the University of Hong Kong. She spent 2003 as a visiting Fulbright scholar at the Institute for European, Russian, and Eurasian Studies at The George Washington University, Washington, D.C. She received her degree from Cambridge University. She has received numerous research awards and was editor of the documents volume of ABC-CLIO's award-winning The Encyclopedia of the World War I and The Encyclopedia of World War II.



"Recommended for academic and high-school libraries, which will find it easy to choose the right set."Booklist

"This is the first and so far the only major reference on the cold war to take advantage of recently opened Russian, Eastern European, and Chinese state archives."Booklist

"This valuable compilation of Cold War history would make an excellent addition to any reference collection."Choice

"This set is recommended for public and academic libraries."ARBA

"It is warmly recommended for academic and general reference libraries."Reference Reviews

"It is a commendable effort to place the Cold War in the context of global, social, political, and military history . . . Recommended only for school libraries and small public libraries that may not have access to government documents and general reference collections."College & Research Libraries News


2007 Editors' Choice — Booklist

Society of Military History 2008 Distinguished Book Award for Reference — Society for Military History

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