Csaba Békés's new book, which will soon appear in English translation, is a sweeping reappraisal of the Cold War based on wide-ranging international archival research. Békés presents comprehensive theories on East-Central Europe in general and Hungary in particular.

The most striking thesis in the book is a powerful reinterpretation of the connection between the Cold War and détente. Békés argues that the “first Cold War” lasted until 1953, the beginning of the thermonuclear era. After this, he maintains, a new, qualitatively different historical period emerged, which he sees as a “second Cold War” coinciding with the era of détente (1953–1991). This new model of superpower coexistence and cooperation persisted even at times of intense competition. Using the “second Cold War” framework, Békés seeks to understand and reinterpret every historical event in this context.

Hungarian history from 1945 to 1989 is the guiding thread in the book and is the chief...

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