One of the best places to start research is in the computerized Five-College Library Catalog. All books are listed by their AUTHORS (last name first), TITLES (drop initial articles "the", "a", "an"), and SUBJECTS, and you can also use the KEYWORD function to search.
KEYWORD searching is not likely to yield a complete, or completely relevant, list of locally-owned books on any particular topic, but it's a good way to start; type in some common-language keywords related to your topic, say "poland solidarity" (to retrieve material about the Polish resistance movement in the 1980's), select titles from the resulting list that interest you, note which official subject headings are assigned to those titles, then click on them to do a more thorough SUBJECT search.
SUBJECT searching, as such, requires that you use the exact words or phrases libraries have chosen to describe your topic; for example, libraries list books about the Solidarity movement under "NSZZ 'Solidarnosc' (Labor organization)". Inputting that phrase as a subject begins with search will yield the most relevant results. Ask at the Reference Desk if you're not sure what words or phrases to use.
Political Science Abstracts (1975 to present)
Covers international journals in political science and its complementary fields.
IBSS: International Bibliography of the Social Sciences (1951 to present)
Indexes about 3,000 journals and 7,000 books per year.
CIAO: Columbia International Affairs Online (1991 to present)
ABSEES: American Bibliography of Slavic and East European Studies (1939 to present)
Index covering North American scholarship on East-Central and Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union.
EconLit with Full Text (1969 to present)
From the American Economic Association -- the foremost source of references to economic literature.
Historical Abstracts (1955 to present)
Scholarly literature about world history since 1450 (excluding the United States and Canada).
PsycInfo (1887 to present)
Covers the academic literature in psychology and related disciplines including psychiatry, sociology, education, and other areas.
Academic Search Premier (date coverage varies)
Full-text articles from over 3,600 journals in the social sciences, arts and humanities, and sciences.
Encyclopedia Britannica Online
Standard general encyclopedia.
Print-Format Reference Works
The Cold War, 1945-1991. Detroit, Gale Research, 1992. Three volumes.
Volumes one and two have alphabetically-arranged biographies of leaders and other important individuals in Cold War history, volume three treats concepts and events, and includes a chronology. Most entries include brief bibliographies. (Ref D 839.5 C65 1992)
Chronology of the Cold War, 1917-1992. New York, Routledge, 2006.
Brief summaries of events, in chronological order, with thematically-organized bibliography at back. (Ref D 840 B78 2006)
Encyclopedia of Russian History. New York, Macmillan Reference, 2004. Four volumes.
Brief articles on people, places, events, etc., most with short lists of further reading. (Ref DK 14 E53 2004)
Encyclopedia of Eastern Europe, from the Congress of Vienna to the Fall of Communism. New York, Garland, 2000.
Short entries (with minimal lists of further reading) on places, individuals, events, etc. (Ref DJK 6 E53 2000)
LEXIS-NEXIS Academic Universe (date coverage varies)
Full-text federal and state laws, international legal materials, and law reviews. Also newspapers and business information.
FBIS: Federal Broadcast Information Service (1974-1996)
News in translation (by the CIA) from radio, television, and newspapers around the world, continued by World News Connection.
World News Connection (1994 to present)
New York Times (historic) (1851-2005)
Washington Post (historic) (1877-1991)
Links to style manuals...the Library's How to Cite page.