Vixi: Memoirs of a Non-Belonger by Richard Pipes - review by J W M Thompson

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.

Future students of these times will find here a useful aid to understanding the great theme of the period, the confrontation between East and West. It is a story coloured by deceits and delusions. of course. How did so many sane people in Europe and America come to convince themselves

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