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THE COLD WAR by David Miller


A Military History

by David Miller

Pub Date: Nov. 1st, 1999
ISBN: 0-312-24183-6
Publisher: Dunne/St. Martin's

A dry-as-dust look at the hardware that fought the cold war, by the author of more than 25 works of military history and a veteran of more than 36 years of military service. Miller, who is credited as the author of Jane’s Major Warships, is in dire need of an editor who can whip his senseless listing of weapon system after weapon system into something approaching interesting reading. Though few will argue that the cold war was won by anything other than massive defense spending, there certainly was more to the conflict than weaponry. The Cold War is billed as “A Military History,” but there is almost nothing of the historical details that would illuminate such theaters of action as Korea and Vietnam, almost nothing of the countless espionage cases or the other conflicts that brought the United States and the Soviet Union face to face, whether in actual battle or by proxy, and nothing at all of the millions who actually fought the war. Miller concentrates instead in looking at the submarines, aircraft carriers, missiles, fighter planes, bombers, tanks, and virtually every other tool in the modern major general’s arsenal. Although he describes these weapons in numbing detail, he does little to place them in the broader context of cold-war strategy, as he might have done by looking at how missile ranges affected the superpowers’ relationship with their satellites, or how submarine developments affected the brinksmanship under the seas. Despite his overwrought infatuation with technological details, Miller does offer interesting coverage of the military relationship between the superpowers and their allies, such as NATO’s division of naval duties according to traditional strengths and weaknesses. Most readers, however, will have to supply their own rationales for why, rather than how, the cold war was fought. Not a military history, a hardware history. (16 pages b&w photos)