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Duncan White

  • Original Title: COLD WARRIORS
  • Publication date: January 2018
  • Country: GB
  • 768 print pages
  • Factual/Investigation


  • Epoch: Historical
  • Time Period: 20th century
  • Themes: SOCIETY DYSFUNCTIONS, War and other conflicts, PEOPLE facing the extraordinary, Manipulation, Indoctrination, Power, Totalitarian regime


A narrative literary history of the Cold War with a focus on US, UK and Russia, in which some of the 20th Century’s most important writers were co-opted (sometimes unwittingly) into playing their role in the conflict.


Translation rights sold: US, China

Winner of a Jerwood Award for Non-fiction

"This is the story of how literature changed the course of the Cold War just as much as how Cold War would change the course of literature."

Duncan White is a former Telegraph journalist now working as an academic in the US. He moved to the United States in 2012 to join Wellesley College as a Newhouse Research Fellow and Visiting Lecturer. He previously published NABOKOV AND HIS BOOKS (OUP, 2017).


A narrative history of the Cold War and the role literature played in it, whether as deliberate propaganda or as a more subtle tool. For both the US and Soviet governments, literature had an important part to play in the Cold War. Books were dropped over enemy lines in order to try and convert hearts and minds, literary authors were encouraged to write propaganda texts, and those who wouldn’t toe the line were blacklisted in the US and sent to labour camps in the USSR.
The author tells stories from famous authors’ lives, from the Spanish Civil War to the collapse of the Soviet Union. The book focuses on writers from both sides of the Iron Curtain, such as George Orwell, Graham Greene, Mary McCarthy, Stephen Spender, Andrei Sinyavsky, Alexander Solzhenitsyn, and Anna Akhmatova.

Agent's synopsis (2016)

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