Cold War
The Essential Reference Guide
by James R. Arnold and Roberta Wiener, Editors
January 2012, 443pp, 7 x 10
1 volume, ABC-CLIO

Hardcover: 978-1-61069-003-4
$108, £84, 94€, A148
eBook Available: 978-1-61069-004-1
Please contact your preferred eBook vendor for pricing.

In 1945, Ho Chi Minh repeatedly appealed to U.S. officials in the hope of establishing friendly relations. The United States ignored him. Instead, the United States helped France maintain control of Indochina, a choice that ultimately led to the Vietnam War. Like this episode, little about the Cold War is black and white. From its outset, the conflict was complex, controversial—and a fascinating subject for study.

The impact of the Cold War is still being felt around the world today. This insightful single-volume reference captures the events and personalities of the era, while also inspiring critical thinking about this still-controversial period.

Cold War: The Essential Reference Guide is intended to introduce students to the tensions between the Soviet Union and the United States that dominated international affairs in the second half of the 20th century. A comprehensive overview essay, plus separate essays on the causes and consequences of the conflict, will provide readers with the necessary context to understand the many facets of this complex era.

The guide’s expert contributors cover all of the influential people and pivotal events of the period, encompassing the United States, the Soviet Union, Europe, Southeast Asia, China, the Middle East, Latin America, and Africa from political, military, and cultural perspectives. Reference entries offer valuable insight into the leaders and conflicts that defined the Cold War, while other essays promote critical thinking about controversial and significant Cold War topics, including whether Ronald Reagan was responsible for ending the Cold War, the impact of Sputnik on the Cold War, and the significance of the Prague Spring.


  • Several analytical essays by prominent historians, plus 85 additional A–Z reference entries about conflicts, incidents, leaders, and issues
  • 35 examples of relevant primary source documents, including speeches, treaties, policy statements, and letters, such as the Marshall Plan and Winston Churchill's "Iron Curtain" speech
  • A detailed chronology of important events that occurred before, during, and after the Cold War
  • Numerous maps and images of key leaders and events
  • A comprehensive bibliography of print resources
James R. Arnold is a military historian and the author of more than 20 books, including Grant Wins the War: Decision at Vicksburg and Jungle of Snakes: A Century of Counterinsurgency Warfare from the Philippines to Iraq. His most recent book, The Moro War: How America Battled a Muslim Insurgency in the Philippine Jungle, 1902–1913, was published in 2011.

Roberta Wiener is managing editor of the Journal of Military History and a contributor to several ABC-CLIO encyclopedias, including The Encyclopedia of North American Colonial Conflicts to 1775: A Political, Social, and Military History.


"Overall, this work is extremely useful. It is informative, easy-to-use, and well-written."—ARBA, January 1, 2013

"The editors and 56 other experts contributed the 85 signed alphabetical entries, along with six essays discussing the causes and consequences of the Cold War, the growth of technology, evolving East-West relations, proxy wars and military aid, and Ronald Reagan and the Cold War. Each entry and essay contains bibliographical references. . . . A recommended purchase for school, academic, and public libraries."—Booklist, April 15, 2012
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