I’m intrigued by the Cold War era for so many different reasons. It’s why I set my own fiction during this era (more on that another day).
So, it’s no surprise that I read a lot of non-fiction books about the Cold War. I wanted to share a few of them with you. Let me know what you think or if you’ve read any of these.
Iron Curtain – The Crushing of Eastern Europe by Anne Applebaum
Anne Applebaum is a columnist for The Washington Post. Iron Curtain covers the horrifying period in Eastern Europe between 1944-1956. The dedication in this book gives me the chills: “This book is dedicated to those Eastern Europeans who refused to live within a lie.”
This book is written by former KGB general, Oleg Kalugin, who spent decades spying in America. Eventually he grew disillusioned with the Soviet system and its institutional corruption. He went public about it all in 1990 and now lives in Washington DC.
Spy Sites of Washington, DC by Robert Wallace and H. Keith Melton
This is a fun read and I highly recommend it. It covers espionage in Washington, DC between the years 1790 and 2016. I bought it for the extensive Cold War section. What’s fascinating (and fun) is that the book actually gives you physical addresses of buildings and homes where spy activities took place, including dead drop locations.
If you are at all interested in the Cambridge Five, I’d read this book. It’s a comprehensive volume of Kim Philby’s life as a double agent. I am fascinated by Kim Philby. Not because he was such a stellar guy (he wasn’t) but because I can’t understand giving it all up to live behind the Iron Curtain. For those who don’t know about the Cambridge Five, they were a network of privileged young men recruited by the KGB at Cambridge. Philby was one of them. He defected to Moscow in 1963 because he was about to be outed as a mole. He died with full Soviet honors in 1988.
Do you have any favorite non-fiction books about the Cold War?
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