Detailed research in archives and other primary sources has added a great deal to our understanding of American universities during the Cold War. Recent studies of the "Cold War University" describe the sometimes contradictory ambitions surrounding these institutions: faculty members seeking an escape from the classroom through external funding, administrators hoping to enhance their university's prestige and balance sheet, and government agencies promoting cutting-edge research with practical (usually military) applications. By examining four recent books on the topic, this article asks whether these impulses created a genuinely new institution—a "Cold War University"—or merely built on existing trends.