Critical Reflections on the Cold War
Linking Rhetoric and History
Rhetoric - Cold War
6.125 x 9.25, 296 pp.
Pub Date: 08/01/2000
Presidential Rhetoric and Political Communication
Price:        $39.95 x


Published by Texas A&M University Press

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Critical Reflections on the Cold War

Linking Rhetoric and History

Edited by Martin J. Medhurst and H. W. Brands

Rhetoric and history intersected dramatically during the Cold War, which was, above all else, a war of words. This volume, which combines the work of historians and communication scholars, examines the public discourse in Cold War America from a number of perspectives including how rhetoric shaped history and policies and how rhetorical images invited interpretations of history.

The book opens with Norman Graebner's wideranging analysis of the rhetorical background of the Cold War. Frank Costigliola then parses Stalin's speech of February, 1946, an address that many in the West took as a declaration of war by the USSR. The development of NSC68 in 1950, often referred to as America's “blueprint” for fighting the Cold War, is the subject of Robert P. Newman's review.

Shawn J. ParryGiles and J. Michael Hogan then focus on American propaganda responses to the perceived Soviet threat. H. W. Brands, Randall B. Woods, and Rachel L. Holloway examine the effects of liberal ideology and rhetoric on domestic and foreign policy decisions. Robert J. McMahon and Robert L. Ivie raise the issue of what it has meant to be the “leader of the Free World” and what the task of postCold War rhetoric will be in this regard.

Scholars concerned with the role of words in public life and in the study of history will find challenging material in this interdisciplinary volume. Historians, speech communication scholars, and political scientists with an interest in the Cold War will similarly find grist for further milling.

Martin J. Medhurst is a distinguished professor of rhetoric and communication at Baylor University in Waco, Texas. H. W. BRANDS, a professor of history at Texas A&M, is coordinator of the Bush School's Program in Foreign Relations and the Presidency.

What Readers Are Saying:

“Remarkably good. At nearly every turn the articles are sustained by carefully researched primary source materials, pellucid writing and interesting arguments. . . . a dance well worth watching.” --Argumentation and Advocacy

The books concentration on diplomatic and political rhetoric during the Cold War is a valuable exercise. This is a refreshing cut above a ‘normal’ set of conference papers.” --The Journal of American History

“This substantive and important volume should interest scholars across a wide range of academic disciplines.” --Rhetoric and Public Affairs


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