Checkmate in Berlin: The Cold War Showdown That Shaped the Modern World

Holt. Jul. 2021. 400p. ISBN 9781250247568. $29.99. HIST
Recognizing that Berlin was a center of attention throughout the Cold War, historian Milton (Soldier, Sailor, Frogman, Spy) enlightens both avid readers and practicing historians with sketches of the foreign military leaders who, from 1945 to 1949, presided over occupied Berlin’s four sectors and interacted with each other and their countries’ commanders in Germany. These lesser-known figures include American colonel Frank “Howlin’ Mad” Howley; Soviet military commander Alexander Kotikov; British general Brian Robertson; and French general Charles Lançon, among others. Expertly employing candid vignettes, Milton also recognizes the roles played by U.S. air force officers William Tunner and Curtis LeMay during World War II, as well as the influence of Soviet general Georgy Zhukov. Although the Cold War ended in 1991, it still influences the relationship between Russia and the United States, Milton deftly argues.
VERDICT Weaving together archival transcripts and an incredible array of secondary sources, this book satisfies on many levels and will engage fans of military history, as well as readers looking for fresh takes on World War II. As in his previous books, Milton’s writing here is accessible and holds readers’ attention from start to finish.
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