For the Soul of Mankind by Melvyn P. Leffler
The United States, the Soviet Union, and the Cold War

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To the amazement of the public, pundits, and even the policymakers themselves, the ideological and political conflict that had endangered the world for half a century came to an end in 1990. How did that happen? What caused the cold war in the first place, and why did it last as long as it did?

The distinguished historian 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: Stalin and Truman devising new policies after 1945; Malenkov and Eisenhower exploring the chance for peace after Stalin’s death in 1953; Kennedy, Khrushchev, and LBJ trying to reduce tensions after the Cuban Missile Crisis of 1962; and Brezhnev and Carter aiming to sustain détente after the Helsinki Conference of 1975. All these leaders glimpsed possibilities for peace, yet they allowed ideologies, political pressures, the expectations of allies and clients, the dynamics of the international system, and their own fearful memories to trap them in a cycle of hostility that seemed to have no end.

Leffler’s important book 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.

About Melvyn P. Leffler

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Melvyn P. Leffler, Stettinius Professor of History at the University of Virginia, is the author of A Preponderance of Power: National Security, the Truman Administration, and the Cold War, which won the Bancroft Prize, the Farrell Prize, and the Hoover Book Award in 1993.  
Published September 2, 2008 by Hill and Wang. 608 pages
Genres: History, Political & Social Sciences, Travel. Non-fiction

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The Cold War began under murky and not entirely planned circumstances governed by individual personalities. So, writes Leffler (History/Univ. of Virginia; The Specter of Communism: The United States and the Origins of the Cold War, 1917–1953, 1994, etc.), did it end, thanks to two pe...

Jun 24 2010 | Read Full Review of For the Soul of Mankind: The ...


Be prepared, when you fight, to take out more civilians than actual gun-toting or bomb-wielding “militants.” At the least, an estimated 174,000 civilians died violent deaths as a result of U.S. wars in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Pakistan between 2001 and April 2014.

Jan 13 2015 | Read Full Review of For the Soul of Mankind: The ...


The models indicated that in the eastern watershed – in Langtang in Nepal where the Ganges has its source – the relatively smaller glaciers melt quite quickly but an increase in monsoon rains leads to a growth in water discharge.

Aug 11 2013 | Read Full Review of For the Soul of Mankind: The ...

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