Peace Research Institute Oslo (PRIO)
While the Cold War may have started in Europe it quickly became a global conflict, or to be more precise, many global conflicts. Lorenz M Lüthi has managed to compose a highly impressive work in which he highlights this multiplicity of conflicts within the overarching framework commonly known as Cold War in the singular. Lüthi structures his analysis through chapters which zoom in on Asia, The Middle East and Europe, but also a thorough three-chapter section presenting and analyzing the alternative political visions which challenged the dichotomous capitalist-communist divide. These visions include Asian-African Internationalism, the Non-Aligned Movement and Pan-Islamism. I was somewhat negatively surprised at the decision to not include Latin-America, but some limiting decisions obviously had to be made in order to make this book manageable. On the other hand, I was positively surprised at how Lüthi managed to write a full chapter, as well as integrate the point in other chapters, on the influence of the Vatican in the Cold War(s). This goes far beyond Pope John Paul II’s influence on the anti-Soviet movement in Poland. And while the Vatican was not the prime mover in the Cold War, far from it, Lüthi convincingly shows how the papacy had an outsized role in the conflicts. The combined overarching analysis, the in-depth foci and the truly impressive use of multiple sets of primary documents make this book a highly valued contribution to the field of global cold war studies. It will stand as a contender to Odd Arne Westad’s The Global Cold War for many lecturers making difficult decisions on what to include on a syllabus.