Martin Sixsmith delves inside the Cold War mind


The War of Nerves

Inside the Cold War Mind
By Martin Sixsmith

Published by Profile Books; Dist. by Allen & Unwin

RRP $49.99 in hard cover | ISBN 9781781259122

Author Martin Sixsmith witnessed the end of the Cold War first-hand, reporting for the BBC from Moscow during the presidencies of Gorbachev and Yeltsin.

In this book, he draws on a vast array of archives and sources, as well as his own experiences, to take us into the simmering tensions and inherent paranoia of the Cold War, framing it for the first time from a psychological perspective.

While other authors have considered the history of the Cold War through facts and dates, speeches and events, stalemate and stand-offs, Sixsmith has delved deeper, into the ‘thinking of millions of people’ with both sides declaring the Cold War a contest of competing social, economic, political and ethical systems, with each side deploying psychological means to keep their domestic population convinced of their superiority.

One chilling sentence in this book will, I am sure, resonate with readers considering it in the context of modern political uncertainty: ‘One of communism’s discoveries was that people could be persuaded to renounce their freedom without force.’

It is of course against this backdrop that the current Russian president Vladimir Putin has emerged as leader and the concern that nuclear weapons might be used once again had raised the political temperature.

A timely book that deserves a wide audience.



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