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Cold War Triumphalism

Cold War Triumphalism: Exposing the Misuse of History after the Fall of Communism

ed., The New Press, New York, 2004, paperback ed., 2006

The book that is provoking a major reexamination of the legacy of the Cold War.

In 2002, President George W. Bush declared, “The great struggles of the twentieth century between liberty and totalitarianism ended with a decisive victory for the forces of freedom—and a single sustainable model for national success: freedom, democracy, and free enterprise.” Cold War Triumphalism exposes the ideological roots of such unabashed triumphalist accounts, and counters the current attempt to rewrite the history of the Cold War struggle.

Assembling some of the nation’s leading historians of U.S. foreign policy, the Cold War, and recent American history, Cold War Triumphalism captures a generation of critical scholarship on America’s rise to global dominance after World War II. At a time when history is increasingly invoked to vindicate the war on terrorism, neoliberal globalization, and recent American military ventures, this book provides a necessary challenge to right-wing mythologizing. Widely praised when first published, Cold War Triumphalism is essential reading for anyone seeking to understand American global politics in the twenty-first century.


The Contributors:

Michael A. Bernstein, Bruce Cumings, Carolyn Eisenberg, Morris Isserman and Ellen Schrecker, Chalmers Johnson, Nelson Lichtenstein, Leo P. Ribuffo, Corey Robin, Jessica Wang, and Marilyn Young


“spirited alternative reader. . . . The collective message is that we should not believe everything we hear or ignore the manipulative wizard behind the curtain.”

― Library Journal

“A persuasive case for the necessity of revisiting the legacy of the Cold War, and . . . a serious alternative to the triumphalist narrative.”

― Boston Review

“An acute and timely analysis of the historical background and premises of the self-congratulatory mood that has dominated American foreign policy . . . since the collapse of Communism after 1990.”
— Gabriel Kolko

“[P]rovides a needed balance and alternative perspective to historical debates about the Cold War and the future direction of U.S. policy.”

— Choice

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