ACCESS TO HISTORY SERIES: The USA and the World 1917-45. By Peter Brett. THE USA AND THE COLD WAR: By Oliver Edwards. Hodder amp; Stoughton. pound;6.50 each.
If Hodder's popular Access to History series has a weakness it is a lack of extension material. The new Themes approach addresses this. Fascism and Nazism considers Fascism and its antecedents, its imitators across Europe, not all of whom strictly merit being classed as Fascist, and the differences between Mussolini's Fascism and the more racially grounded brand that Hitler implemented in Germany. It is an absorbing read, and it will take able students more deeply into a period which they often think they know better than they do.
The two American history volumes will be welcomed by anyone teaching American or world history. American isolationism is put into its proper context. ("Independent International-ism" is the preferred term, though it wouldn't have meant much to those Americans in 1919 who thought the League of Nations was something to do with basketball.) Roosevelt's war record is weighed in the balance, and the treatment of the Cold War covers everything from Truman's doctrine and Ken-nan's Long Telegram to Mike "They were red sons-of-bitches" Hammer. It ends in 1962, though, and it should have said that on the cover.
* Sean Lang is head of history at Hills Road Sixth Form College, Cambridge