The United States has won the cold war—but at what cost? While political observers ponder the collapse of Soviet communism, and historians continue to debate the origins of the cold war, scarcely anyone has considered the profound changes it wrought in American society. Edward Pessen's Losing Our Souls is the first book to sum up the consequences of the cold war for Americans—the shifting ideals of our approach to international affairs; the building of our nuclear arsenal; the tactics used to combat "communist subversion" throughout the world and within the United States; the transformation of the American economy in response to security demands. Carefully reviewing the evidence, Mr. Pessen charges that American cold war policy was disastrous for many of our cherished values and institutions. In a powerful indictment of American leadership, he accuses our cold war policymakers of deplorable activities and of misrepresenting them to the American people—all in the name of the cause of anticommunism. Losing Our Souls is an important book that challenges smug official appraisals of our cold war experience.
Edward Pessen was for many years Distinguished Professor of History at Baruch College and the Graduate School and University Center of the City University of New York. His best-known books are Most Uncommon Jacksonians and The Log Cabin Myth.