The Best Cold War History Books for Adults

2021 will mark the 30th anniversary of the end of the Cold War, which was a period of geopolitical tension between the Soviet Union and the United States and their respective allies, marked by spying, McCarthyism, and looming nuclear war for over four decades.

Because of the length of the Cold War, and the many countries and organizations involved, there have been a ton of excellent, informative Cold War history books published over the years. From the Cuban Missile Crisis and the CIA, KBG, and MI6 and their network of spies, to submarines, nuclear missiles, and the “Star Wars” defense program, there are many different facets of the Cold War to explore in the pages of books.

Here are eight of the best Cold War history books for adults, whether you are looking to learn a general overview of the decades-long rivalry or explore deep dives into particular events. Both history buffs and readers looking to start learning about the Cold War will find these fascinating.


Liberty Hardy is a Book Riot senior contributing editor and velocireader in the great state of Maine, where she reads 500-600 books a year and lives with her three cats, who are probably spies.