In Jeff Colvin's Avoiding Apocalypse: How Science and Scientists Ended the Cold War, the author discusses how the actual end of the Cold War came not but the superiority of nuclear arms nor the numerous treaties made between the US and Russia. In truth, as Jones argues, it ended due to scientists' scientific work. Jones presents this concept in an almost linear historiographical time frame, beginning with the Spanish invasion of the Incas and ending with the inauguration of President Joe Biden. At first glance, the Spanish invasion of the Americas and the Cold War have nothing in common. But they share one crucial factor, dissected and evaluated in all eleven chapters and appendices of the narrative, fixed ideological mentality. This is the central thesis argued by Jones. Nothing is invulnerable, and the rise of new scientific discoveries, such as those in philosophy and chemistry, powerfully shaped and changed the world's outcomes, from John Locke's Social Contract during the English Civil War to the Russian invasion of Afghanistan in the late 1980s at the height of the Cold War.
Regarding sources, the author presents footnotes toward the end of each chapter. These footnotes provide the references used for each chapter and more information regarding certain sections of each chapter. Furthermore, his approach and use of sources also explain his methodology for this narrative. By combining literacy, graphics/charts, and written accounts from the US, Russia, and other parts of Europe coupled with scientific evidence proposed by men like Benjamin Franklin, John Locke, writers Yuli Daniel and Andrei Sinyavsky, Anatoly Shcharansky, Physicist Yuri Orlov, and Physicist Andrei Sakharov, the author's evidence is heavily interdisciplinary and provides different avenues to explore the complex question proposed by the author, have we learned anything from the Cold War?
In conclusion, Jones ends his analysis by reflecting on the book's final chapter. In the last chapter, the author states that as long as the purpose of political organisation is viewed as a hierarchical structure to maintain the power of one ideology or another, the zealots or ideologues will always win at the expense of genuine democracy. Ultimately, the authors argue that Sakhrov, who argued for a new linkage between science and democracy and strengthened both, was right. True science is discovering which facts are actual and which are not. Thus, for a "fact" to be accepted as scientific truth, it must be both reproducible and verifiable. As for democracy, democracy is strengthened by applying the same principles of the scientific method to understand the laws of nature and formulate the laws that govern public life. However, despite the evidence and theoretical proposal, Jones argues that the ideological conflict continues as people adhere to these false notions. The Cold War has yet to conclude. It will finally end when we all learn the lesson of linkage that Andrei Sakharov taught.
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