The End of the Cold War

Robert Service

3.76 based on 237 ratings & 40 reviews on

2016 Nominee

Pushkin House Russian Book Prize

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08 October 2015
562 pages

The dismantling of the Berlin Wall in 1989 and the spread of Perestroika throughout the former Soviet bloc was a sea change in world history and two years later resulted in the dissolution of the Soviet Union.

In The End of the Cold War, acclaimed Russian historian Robert Service examines precisely how that change came about. Drawing on a vast and largely untapped range of sources, he builds a picture of the two men who spearheaded the breakthrough: Ronald Reagan, President of the United States, and Mikhail Gorbachev, last General Secretary of the Soviet Union and first and last President of the USSR. He also analyses the role of influential players not only in America and the USSR, but throughout Eastern and Western Europe, and focuses especially on Pope John Paul II, Lech Watesa and Vaclav Havel.

Authoritative, compelling and meticulously researched, this is political history at its best.

Our leading historian of the Soviet Union ... magisterial


Detailed and clear ... his main strength is his forensic challenge to the clichés and myths on which western triumphalism about the Cold War is based ... Service is an authoritative voice offering a more nuanced view.

Victor Sebestyen - Sunday Times

An abundance of superbly organized material

Mary Dejevsky - Independent