New Books Network

Michael Cotey Morgan

The Final Act

The Helsinki Accords and the Transformation of the Cold War

Princeton University Press 2018

New Books in American StudiesNew Books in European StudiesNew Books in HistoryNew Books in National SecurityNew Books in Peoples & PlacesNew Books in Politics & SocietyNew Books in Russian and Eurasian StudiesNew Books Network January 3, 2019 Charles Coutinho

Just when you thought that you knew everything and anything pertaining to the Cold War and the ending of it, along comes University of...

Just when you thought that you knew everything and anything pertaining to the Cold War and the ending of it, along comes University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Professor Michael Cotey Morgan to tell you that you are profoundly wrong. Based upon voluminous archival research in eight countries and in five languages, his book, The Final Act: The Helsinki Accords and the Transformation of the Cold War (Princeton University Press, 2018) provides the reader with the first in-depth account of the historic diplomatic agreement that served as a blueprint for ending the Cold War.

The Helsinki Final Act was a watershed of the Cold War. Signed by thirty-five European and North American leaders at a summit in Finland in the summer of 1975, the agreement presented a vision for peace based on common principles and cooperation on both sides of the the Iron Curtain. This gripping book explains the Final Act’s emergence from the parallel crises of the Soviet bloc and the West during the 1960s, the strategies of the major figures, and the conflicting designs for international order that animated the negotiations.

The definitive history of the origins and legacy of this important agreement, The Final Act shows how it served as a blueprint for ending the Cold War, and how, when that conflict finally came to a close, the great powers established a new international order based on Helsinki’s enduring principles.


Charles Coutinho holds a doctorate in history from New York University. Where he studied with Tony Judt, Stewart Stehlin and McGeorge Bundy. His Ph. D. dissertation was on Anglo-American relations in the run-up to the Suez Crisis of 1956. His area of specialization is 19th and 20th-century European, American diplomatic and political history. It you have a recent title to suggest for a podcast, please send an e-mail to Charlescoutinho@aol.com.