So I’ve been thinking a lot about the Cold War and the concept of deterrence and all that (what a surprise, considering I just finished playing MGS Peace Walker, oh and also we are basically headed for another Cold War that god willing will not turn into nuclear armageddon, and I figure it would be relaxing(?) to read up on what happened the last time the world was in this mess.
I’ve recently read Command and Control: Nuclear Weapons, the Damascus Accident, and the Illusion of Safety by Eric Schlosser (which was a real good read) and I also read Blind Man’s Bluff: The Untold Story of American Submarine Espionage by Sherry Sontag, but those only served to whet my appetite.
That said, here’s the topics I’m most interested in (feel free to recommend stuff that doesn’t fall within these topics, of course):
Central and South America’s role during the Cold War. The US and Soviet Union both did a lot of nasty shit in these countries, or so I’ve heard, but it was curiously left out of the numerous history courses I took in college. With America’s willingness to confront the ugly parts of its own history so strong, it’s a mystery as to why (this sentence contains heavy sarcasm).
What espionage actually looked like. People going back and forth from East to West Germany is pretty well documented, but what does it actually mean? None of this James Bond nonsense.
What the hell was happening in Africa during this whole time? Was the continent sucked into the mess of the Cold War at all? I literally never heard shit about Africa during the Cold War beyond, you know, South Africa being SUPER INTO RACISM in a way that (almost, but not quite) put the United States to shame.
I think this sort of stuff is interesting, but I also think it’s really important. It’s recent history, and it’s the sort of stuff that I feel like I don’t know enough about - and frankly, I figure looking at how things were happening then will shed some light on what is happening now, or at least give some additional context. I could, of course, look up some books on my own, but I’m turning to y’all because I figure it’s better to get recommendations from people rather than kind of guess (the two books I mentioned earlier were both brought up by one Drew Scanlon as good Cold War books, and he was correct on that score). So anyway, there we are. Lay it on me.