Someone Is Out To Get Us: A Not So Brief History of Cold War Paranoia and Madness

Twelve: Grand Central. 2019. 512p. ISBN 9781538728031. $30. HIST
Brown (Ring Force) offers up a binge-worthy, popcorn-flavored exploration of some of the Cold War’s darkest and most sensational episodes. This is not a work of serious history (Wikipedia is openly quoted in the bibliography); instead, it is well suited to satisfy the appetites of hungry armchair historians and conspiracy enthusiasts, providing vivid glimpses into dark struggles of the past in brief and digestible episodic chunks. In introducing his book, Brown posits that stories about the Cold War are at best “incomplete” and at worst “horribly wrong.” What follows is the “true and complete account” of this period, presenting what the author claims is a “cautionary tale pointing to a misguided and troubling legacy of humiliation and hubris.” Individual chapters feature Cold War-era favorites such as atomic weapons, the birth of Containment, Operation Paperclip, UFOs, George Orwell’s Animal Farm, the Cambridge Five, and McCarthyism. Transparent political punditry and the occasional personal reminisce perplex what would otherwise stand as a regaling read. Unnecessarily crude language appears throughout.
VERDICT All told, Brown delivers a tantalizing, stranger-than-fiction collection guaranteed to entertain. For fans of the History Channel and similar historical adventures.
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