This is a masterful account of the Cold War by a distinguished historian in full stride. Leffler focuses on critical turning points when crises, leadership changes, . For the Soul of Mankind has ratings and 17 reviews. The distinguished historian Melvyn P. Leffler homes in on four crucial episodes To the amazement of. Buy For the Soul of Mankind: The United States, the Soviet Union, and the Cold War by Melvyn P. Leffler (ISBN: ) from Amazon’s Book Store.
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Would you like to tell us about a lower price? If you are a seller for this product, would you like to suggest updates through seller support? Possibly the most readable and insightful study of the Cold War yet.
This landmark study transcends many of our standard arguments about the Cold War to focus on what it was really about. Driving much of the maneuvering for security and advantage was the struggle over which political system could meet people’s needs dor produce a better society.
Concentrating on five critical intervals in the history of Soviet-American rivalry, Melvyn P. Leffler, one of the West’s leading authorities on U.
The portraits of Cold War leaders, both Soviet and American, are convincingly and elegantly drawn. As illustrated by Leffler, their travails and successes demonstrate how important leadership is in maintaining peace in an unstable world.
His analytical perspective, emphasizing both structure and agency, is illuminating throughout. The book is sophisticated and erudite but also engagingly written and lively. For the Soul of Mankind will appeal to general readers as well as to experts and university students, and will be a standard text in classes dealing with the Cold War. Leffler avoids the pitfalls of the older revisionism, which blamed the U.
His is a story of two nations whose leaders, haunted by very different fears of a recurrent past, at crucial junctures perpetuated the conflict and made it insoluble. The Cold War ended, finally, when two remarkable men, Mikhail Gorbachev and Ronald Reagan, were able to recognize what was unfounded in their fears of each other.
Judis, author of The Folly of Empire. And, most important, it is an intellectually honest work. This is, in short, the best book anyone has yet written on the United States and the origins of the Cold War. The author appears to have read every national security document that was generated by the White House and the State and War departments.
For sheer comprehensiveness and thorough investigation, this volume is unmatched. It is also miraculously literate, thought-provoking and quite surprising in its line of argument. Leffler is one of America’s most distinguished cold war historians, and this enlightening, readable study is the product of years of research and reflection.
This important book will enlighten and sophisticate the debate on the Cold War, even if it will not end the discussion. John Ikenberry, Foreign Affairs. To the amazement of the public, pundits, and even the policy-makers themselves, the ideological and political conflict that endangered the world for half a century came to an end in How did that happen?
What had caused the cold war in the first place, and why did it last as long as it did? To answer these questions, Melvyn P. Leffler homes in on four crucial episodes when American and Soviet Leaders considered modulating, avoiding, or ending hostilities and asks why they failed. He then illuminates how Reagan, Bush, and, above all, Gorbachev finally extricated themselves from the policies and mind-sets that had imprisoned their predecessors, and were able to reconfigure Soviet-American relations after decades of confrontation.
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For the Soul of Mankind: The United States, the Soviet Union, and the Cold War by Melvyn P. Leffler
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Start reading For the Soul of Mankind on your Kindle in under a minute. Don’t have a Kindle? Review “A scintillating account of the forces that constrained Soviet and American leaders in the second half of the 20th century. Solu, author of The Folly of Empire “Indefatigably researched: John Ikenberry, Foreign Affairs Synopsis To the amazement of the public, pundits, and even the policy-makers themselves, the ideological and political conflict that endangered the world for half a century came to an end in See all Product description.
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Write a customer review. Showing of 3 reviews. Top Reviews Most recent Top Reviews. There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later. Arrived promptly and as advertised. As the name would lead one to think, the focus is strongly on the ideological aspects of the political decision-making, but Leffler is fairly pragmatic and pays plenty of attention to issues of military strength, strategic interventions, Third World movements, and so on.
There is also a lot of concentration on the personal characteristics of the countries’ respective leaders, which sometimes leads it deplorably into “Great Men” historiography. A lot can be said against this book. Not just the above-mentioned excessively biographical approach, but for example it does not actually cover all of the Cold War; Leffler describes it as covering five pivotal “episodes” in it, but in practice this means it is an all-out political history of US-Soviet relations during the Cold War, but with the odd aspect of relatively excluding Nixon and Ford.
It seems that if one is writing about every other postwar president and leader anyway, one could as well add those too. But that aside, there is the fact that Leffler talks a lot about the economies of the respective countries, but without ever describing these and their development in concrete details.
He also pays no attention to cultural and social developments, giving the book a very narrow international relations focus. One would also have liked to read more about the role of European leaders, both East and West, in the diplomatic and ideological struggle, but perhaps that is too much to include in one book. However, this book is nonetheless a clear advance over the Cold War and neo-Cold War style of history writing, as opposed to the likes of Gaddis.
Although Leffler excessively demonizes and fulminates against Stalin in the beginning, he treats the Soviet leaders remarkably sanely and accurately for an American historian of the Cold War, at no point falling for “evil empire” style propaganda. He clearly and concisely discusses not just the restraints and problems the American Presidents were facing during negotiations, but also those of the Soviet leadership. Commendable is the way in which he acknowledges the role of important leaders that were not the head of government, like Molotov, Mikoyan, Gromyko, etc.
His description of Khrushchov in particular is very good, and in my view quite correctly re-establishes his intelligence, competence, and advanced insight into the problems of the USSR. He has been much maligned because of Stalinists hating him and anti-Communists also hating him, but this is quite undeserved.
Some might say that Leffler overestimates Brezhnev’s competence perhaps, whom he seems to hold in relatively high regard, but he does not diminish his weaknesses. Leffler is very well informed about the substance of the major negotiation rounds between the US and the USSR, as well as the main points of contention and the periods of major crisis in the Cold War.
He dispells some still common myths yet again, such as the idea that Reagan and the SDI program ‘defeated communism’, that Stalin wanted to attack Western Europe, that the Soviet leadership had wanted to invade Afghanistan, and that mqnkind USSR at thr time wanted nuclear war. Leffler is rightly critical of both sides, and brings important things to the fore that are often underestimated as aspects of the ideological struggle: That the US misunderstood the situation in the USSR as often as the USSR did in the US is clear from this work, as is the fact that both sides were equally willing to be aggressor and interventionist when they felt threatened.
In the end, as Leffler points out, it was Gorbachov’s visionary leadership that inadvertently ended the USSR, which is both a blessing and a curse for the future of socialism. See all 3 reviews. th
Most helpful customer reviews on Amazon. Excellent Cold War survey. This is perfect for anyone looking to broaden his or her knowledge on the politics of the Cold War.
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A couple of the chapters, particularly the one on detente can seem long-winded mannkind times. But, through it all Leffler manages to capture the feelings of the mankund leaders and how they viewed their rivals, themselves, and most importantly, their place and their nation’s place in history.
He shows how domestic political concerns played an essential role in prolonging the Cold War and that the decisions that were made by Soviet and American leaders leading up to the eighties were primarily a result of the circumstances of the times that each of those leaders were dealt.
Overall, a excellent and informative read with plenty of behind-the-scenes insights that help the reader understand not only what happened at the negotiating table, but why it happened the way it did. Very good read, the way its written makes it sound more like a story which makes for an easier read. Product came in excellent condition being used.
If i did not know any better, it would seem as if it was brand new. Great book for my foreign policy class, covers the Cold War extensively. Entertaining and somewhat different more detailed look into the Cold War Dicotomy of the American Soviet interactions over the years from post World War 2 Genesis to the Death and Disolution of the Soviet Emire, it’s puppet states, and to the overall Cold War itself.
Perfect for the History buff and those who hunger for infromation and Historical content. Well worth the read. Great recounting of 5 key episodes of the Cold War, where the United States and the Soviet Union tried to come to terms and resolve their differences.
This is not a history of the entire period, China and it’s relations between the two superpowers is lrffler covered in any detail, this focuses on the U.