Just a quick post before I run outside to tend to my daughters, I wanted to recommend to our readers the book “On the Edge of the Cold War” by Igor Lukes.
Luke’s book reads like great fiction, however it serves a tremendous function in disaggregating the Cold War, examining it piece by piece, and unpacking the motivations of all the major actors.
First and foremost, it is surprisingly a study in American ineptitude. Given the material advantages and capacity, the performance of the United States in this theatre sets up a narrative about how large a role human agency can play in the tectonic conflicts of ideologies and nation states.
The book presents a no-holds-barred analysis of the U.S. Embassy in Prague, which is rich in detail and brings all the characters to life. The reader is given the sense that they are living through these tragic events.
We can all learn so much from this rich though brief book about how the Cold War played out in Prague. More, Lukes’ book shows us that even before Wikileaks the American foreign policy establishment was missing more pitches than the 1961 Mets. Recommended.