HISTORY OF THE COLD WAR From the Korean War to the Present by Andre Fontaine

HISTORY OF THE COLD WAR From the Korean War to the Present

Email this review


The second volume of a Le Monde staffer's study. Again it is chiefly a diplomatic history, based on the premise of two equal superpowers, written on a level which excludes scholarly controversy, notably with the Anglo-American ""revisionists"" who propound a pattern of U.S. aggression. Again M. Fontaine displays more complacency about his detachment than penetrating conclusions about purpose or consequences. And his sympathies with the U.S. produce some odd diction: America ""intervened in"" the Cold War! These intellectual evasions, rather than his pedestrian style, seem responsible for the book's essential dullness. In any case, such a broad work must provoke specific quarrels of interpretation and emphasis. The discussion of Africa is mainly confined to the Congo, of Southeast Asia to Indochina, of Latin America to Cuba, Guatemala and Brazil. On Korea, Fontaine sidles past the issue of Kremlin direction, plays down the predicament of the Chinese, and concludes that what the war dramatized was ""the weakness of the West's military posture."" There is more stress on developments within the Kremlin and its empire than within the U.S. The strictly chronological progression leads to a focus on ""crisis"" conjunctions (Suez, Berlin, Cuba) rather than sustained analysis of each clash. The book ends with 1963; there is an epilogue attributing American cold-war commitment to a sense of responsibility for ""universal peace."" As an overview of summits and hot spots the book will be useful; but, given the proliferation of reference material on these events, greater political articulation and critical perspective is demanded of a general work.

Pub Date: July 10th, 1969
Publisher: Pantheon