This highly praised book captures the essence and the madness of the "balance of terror" that was the Cold War. Describing an extensive period and much of the globe, The A to Z of the Cold War presents a year-by-year chronology, an introductory essay, and hundreds of entries on civilian and military leaders, central issues and peripheral conflicts, crucial countries and their allies or foes, the contending alliances and the non-aligned, deterrence and détente, the increasingly lethal weapons systems, and the various political and military strategies.
While both authors are specialists in American foreign policy and diplomacy, Smith has a particular interest in United States relations with Latin America and Davis in Anglo-American relations. This broader focus is helpful, because it enables the authors to have a broader view of the Cold War, and having studied and lived in Great Britain, they view events from a more neutral perspective. This, and a conscious effort to maintain a scholarly balance, enhances the objectivity of this volume. Smith and Davis have produced an easy-to-use reference tool for both the history scholar and student.