J W M Thompson

Arms And Academia

Vixi: Memoirs of a Non-Belonger


Yale Univeristy Press 264pp £19.95 order from our bookshop

RICHARD PIPES COULD properly have called his book ‘Memoirs of a Cold Warrior’, since that is the label which brought him more limelight, and much more opprobrium, than all his distinguished career as an historian at Harvard. ‘Those who called me a cold warrior apparently expected me to cringe,’ he writes. ‘In fact I accepted the title proudly.’ That is the core of this book. The case he spells out, with vigour, as a leading proponent of the ‘hard line’ vis-a-vis the Soviet Union, is that there were only two alternatives to the Cold War: appeasement, which promoted Communist objectives, or war, which threatened general destruction. He adds that for years he predicted that the Soviet empire would collapse as a result of internal failures, and was convinced that the pressures of the Cold War were accelerating that collapse. So now, in his old age, Pipes looks back over a dreadful period of history with the satisfaction of a man who held his ground against fierce criticism and who now congratulates himself upon being, in the end, shown to have been right.

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