The Cold War
The Definitive Encyclopedia and Document Collection
by Spencer C. Tucker, Editor
October 2020, 2181pp, 8 1/2x11
5 volumes, ABC-CLIO

Hardcover: 978-1-4408-6075-1
$591, £455, 514€, A810
eBook Available: 978-1-4408-6076-8
Please contact your preferred eBook vendor for pricing.

Although the Cold War, which pitted the United States against the Soviet Union, never involved direct military action between the two superpowers, it featured a series of conflicts all over the world.

This sweeping reference work covers every aspect of the Cold War, from its ignition in the ashes of World War II, through the Berlin Wall and the Cuban Missile Crisis, to the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991.

The Cold War superpower face-off between the Soviet Union and the United States dominated international affairs in the second half of the 20th century and still reverberates around the world today. This comprehensive and insightful multivolume set provides authoritative entries on all aspects of this world-changing event, including wars, new military technologies, diplomatic initiatives, espionage activities, important individuals and organizations, economic developments, societal and cultural events, and more. This expansive coverage provides readers with the necessary context to understand the many facets of this complex conflict.

The work begins with a preface and introduction and then offers illuminating introductory essays on the origins and course of the Cold War, which are followed by some 1,500 entries on key individuals, wars, battles, weapons systems, diplomacy, politics, economics, and art and culture. Each entry has cross-references and a list of books for further reading. The text includes more than 100 key primary source documents, a detailed chronology, a glossary, and a selective bibliography. Numerous illustrations and maps are inset throughout to provide additional context to the material.


  • Includes more than 1,500 entries covering all facets of the Cold War from its origins to its aftermath, including all political, diplomatic, military, social, economic, and cultural aspects
  • Incorporates the scholarship of more than 200 internationally recognized contributors from around the world, many writing about events and issues from the perspective of their country of origin
  • Offers more than 100 original documents—a collection that draws heavily on material from archives in China, Eastern Europe, and the former Soviet Union
  • Provides hundreds of powerful images and dozens of informative maps detailing specific military conflicts and movements of various groups
  • Includes a detailed chronology of important events that occurred before, during, and after the Cold War
Spencer C. Tucker, PhD, retired in 2003 after 36 years of university teaching, the last six as holder of the John Biggs Chair in Military History at the Virginia Military Institute. He has been a Fulbright scholar, a visiting research associate at the Smithsonian Institution, and, as a U.S. Army captain, an intelligence analyst in the Pentagon. He has written or edited more than 60 books or encyclopedias treating military and naval history, a number of which have won important awards. Among his works are American Revolution: The Definitive Encyclopedia and Document Collection (2018).


2021 Dartmouth Medal Winner—RUSA, February 4, 2021


"Recommended. General readers, lower-division undergraduates, and two-year students."—Choice, December 1, 2021
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