• The cover of the book Revolution

    Revolution

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    L. Goodwater’s novels blend tales of historical espionage with another genre: in this case, fantasy. In Revolution, the second of his novels about magicians enmeshed in the Cold War, Goodwater’s protagonist Karen O’Neil visits Cuba before its own revolution, taking in the ensuing power struggle among a host of factions, both local and international.

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  • The cover of the book Black Sun

    Black Sun

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    Owen Matthews brings a host of journalistic experience to his forays into fiction: he covered numerous wars around the globe, and spent 10 years in Russia as Newsweek’s Moscow bureau chief. He ventures into that nation’s past in Black Sun, about a KGB officer investigating an unsettling murder in a research city whose very existence is surrounded by the highest levels of secrecy.

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  • The cover of the book Summerlings

    Summerlings

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    Some novels about the Cold War are set on its front lines, about figures lurking in the shadows trading blows and bullets for their own side. Others, like Lisa Howorth’s Summerlings, illuminate how the Cold War shaped the lives of everyday people. Summerlings is set in Washington, D.C. in 1959, a story of friends coming of age and how both the Cold War and the legacy of World War II shaped their development.

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  • The cover of the book The Secrets We Kept

    The Secrets We Kept

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    Some tales of espionage involve secret codes, covert operations, and mysteries within mysteries. But some Cold War battles were fought using the arts — and one of those is the subject of Lara Prescott’s The Secrets We Kept. It’s about the CIA’s efforts to get Boris Pasternak’s novel Doctor Zhivago into wider circulation around the globe — which involved getting it out of the Soviet Union, no easy task.

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  • The cover of the book The Spy and the Traitor

    The Spy and the Traitor

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    When writing about espionage during the Cold War, sometimes truth really is stranger than fiction. In The Spy and the Traitor, Ben Macintyre — whose bibliography includes a number of thrilling tales of real-life spy craft — explores the complex life of Soviet double agent Oleg Gordievsky, who began working for MI6 in 1973. His work, the shifting balance of power across the globe, and its geopolitical ramifications form the spine of this gripping book.

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  • The cover of the book The Red Daughter

    The Red Daughter

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    For this novel exploring the life of Svetlana Alliluyeva — perhaps better known as Joseph Stalin’s daughter — John Burnham Schwartz drew on his own family history. (As a young man, his father helped get Alliluyeva to the United States.) The result is a fascinating look at the repercussions of power and of a person out of step with two diametrically-opposed societies.

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  • The cover of the book The Soul of America

    The Soul of America

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    Jon Meacham’s books have delved into a number of distinct periods of American history, including acclaimed biographies of multiple heads of state. With The Soul of America, Meacham turns his attention towards moments in the nation’s history where the public was acrimoniously divided — including the Army-McCarthy Hearings, which reflected the ongoing tension of the Cold War.

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  • The cover of the book Revenge of the Kremlin

    Revenge of the Kremlin

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    In his novel Revenge of the Kremlin, author Gérard de Villiers uses the adventures of his recurring character Malko Linge to explore questions of post-Soviet Russia, corruption, and espionage. At the center of it is the mysterious death of a Russian oligarch living in exile — and an investigation that hearkens back to Cold War tensions.

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  • The cover of the book 1947

    1947

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    In order to understand the Cold War, it can be useful to explore the years in which it began. In Elisabeth Åsbrink’s 1947: Where Now Begins, the author explores the shifting geopolitical climate around the world — which includes how the United States and the Soviet Union went from wartime allies to peacetime rivals.

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  • The cover of the book Whittaker Chambers

    Whittaker Chambers

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    More than 50 years after his death, Whittaker Chambers remains one of the most contentious figures of the Cold War. His ideological journey led him to first embrace Communism and then fervently denounce it, placing him at the center of some of the most harrowing moments of his era. Tanenhaus’s biography of Chambers neatly traces the abundant complexities of his life.

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