A concise, briskly-written over-view of the Cold War, drawing on the latest archival evidence and scholarly research and including a discussion of Cold War historiography and an introductory section containing primary documents. Harper illuminates the deep-seated behaviour patterns influencing both the Soviet Union and the United States: the search for security through expansion and military might, the belief in a "messianic" mission to uplift humanity, but also a
readiness to live and let live based on membership in a common state system and a shared interest in survival. He stresses ways in which internal competitions for political power biased both the U.S.
and Soviet systems towards bellicosity and obsessive preparation for a hot war that no one seriously intended to begin. And he addresses major questions such as how it began, why it never developed into a major 'hot' war, and the reasons why it came to an end.