A first-rate history of how the Cold War was conducted. As World War II ended, the two former allies immediately began to look upon each other with suspicion. Many events converged that pushed the U.S. and the USSR apart. Truman had little patience with Russia; he did not understand the effect of the terrible losses the Soviets had incurred during the War. (For every American killed, there were 27 Russian deaths—almost 12 million.) In any case, Stalin was a paranoid maniac. What Sheehan has done is to concentrate on one aspect of containment: building the anti-ballistic missile shield as a defense against the Soviet bomb. He focuses on some of the brilliant characters involved in the decision to build and man missiles, such as the lead scientists, Johnny Von Neuman, a Hungarian refugee, fiercely anti-Soviet and a brilliant physicist; and Werner von Braun, a completely amoral, former rocket-builder for Hitler. The center of the book is Bernard Schriever, who immigrated from Germany as a child, became a brilliant golfer, and a flier in the Air Force. This thoroughly decent man, a protégé of Hap Arnold, fought Curtis LeMay to build a defense rather than bank on an offensive program.

A Fiery Peace in a Cold War: Bernard Schriever and the Ultimate Weapon Cover Image
ISBN: 9780679745495
Availability: Not On Our Shelves—Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Vintage - October 5th, 2010

It was George Kennan who promulgated the containment policy. In his famous long telegram from Moscow, he guessed at Soviet intentions and urged that the U.S. had to contain the USSR. In his perceptive and intriguing book, the very young Nicholas Thompson offers a joint biography of Kennan and Paul Nitze, who opposed Kennan’s position of waiting patiently until the USSR imploded. He advocated a strong military buildup, although, in truth, he was very cautious about deploying the weapons. Both men came from the same upper class background and Ivy League schools. Both served in important civilian positions during World War II and both believed deeply in public service. Kennan had served in the Embassy in the Soviet Union and was able to hold opposing views about our one-time ally.  Nitze seemed to see the situation as either/or – either the Soviets were our friends or they were our enemies. Thompson does an admirable job of crafting a vast trove of material into a readable history. It is still not clear whether the military build-up prolonged the Cold War with a paranoid foe or contributed to its fall.

The Hawk and the Dove: Paul Nitze, George Kennan, and the History of the Cold War Cover Image
ISBN: 9780312658861
Availability: Not On Our Shelves—Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Picador - September 28th, 2010

Matthew Crawford began to question his satisfaction as a “knowledge worker,” and opened a motorcycle repair shop in Richmond. Shop Class as Soulcraft is an absorbing personal labor-history-cum-memoir, a philosophical treatise on the essence of work, and an analysis of America’s economic and vocational future, reminiscent of the classic Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance. Following Crawford through the mental and mechanical process of a manual trade will order, link, and electrify many of the vague discontents and notions you might have about the nature and quality of work and a good life in our times. This is an especially thought-provoking choice for college students or recent graduates.

Shop Class as Soulcraft: An Inquiry Into the Value of Work Cover Image
ISBN: 9781594202230
Availability: Backordered
Published: Penguin Press - May 28th, 2009

Shop Class as Soulcraft: An Inquiry into the Value of Work Cover Image
ISBN: 9780143117469
Availability: Not On Our Shelves—Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Penguin Books - April 27th, 2010