Khrushchev: The Man And His Era

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9780743275644: Khrushchev: The Man And His Era

William Taubman's brilliant, Pulitzer Prize-winning biography of one of the key figures of the Soviet Union is a study in contrasts -- how the boy from a peasant background rose to the heights of power; how a single-minded, ambitious political player survived twenty years under Stalin; how he opened up to the West after Stalin's death and yet brought the world close to oblivion in the Cuban Missile Crisis. Hugely acclaimed on hardback publication, and winner of the 2004 Pulitzer Prize for Biography, this is a magisterial work of political biography and a riveting insight into one of the giants of twentieth-century history. It is likely to remain the standard work for years to come.

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About the Author:

William Taubman is Bertrand Snell Professor Emeritus of Political Science at Amherst College. His 2003 book, Khrushchev: The Man and his Era, won both the Pulitzer Prize for biography and the National Book Critics Circle Award for biography in 2004. Taubman has been the President of the American Association for the Advancement of Slavic Studies, and chairs the Advisory Committee of the Cold War International History Project at the Woodrow Wilson Center for Scholars in Washington.

From Publishers Weekly:

Amherst College political science professor Taubman's thorough and nuanced account is the first full-length American biography of Khrushchev-and will likely be the definitive one for a long time. Russians, Taubman explains, are still divided by Khrushchev's legacy, largely because of the great contradiction at the heart of his career: he worked closely with Stalin for nearly 20 years, approved thousands of arrests and executions, and continued to idolize the dictator until the latter's death. Yet it was Khrushchev who publicly revealed the enormity of Stalin's crimes, denounced him, and introduced reforms that, Taubman argues, "allowed a nascent civil society to take shape"-eventually making way for perestroika. Taubman untangles the fascinating layers of deception and self-deception in Khrushchev's own memoir, weighing just how much the leader was likely to have known about the purges and his own culpability in them. He also shows that shadows of Stalinism lingered through Khrushchev's 11 years in power: his fourth-grade education left him both awed and threatened by the Russian intelligentsia, which he persecuted; intending to de-escalate the Cold War, the mercurial, blustering first secretary ended up provoking dangerous standoffs with the U.S. The bumbling, equivocal speeches quoted here make Khrushchev seem a rank amateur in international affairs-or, as Taubman politely puts it, he had trouble "thinking things through." Working closely with Khrushchev's children, and interviewing his surviving top-level Central Committee colleagues and aides, Taubman has pieced together a remarkably detailed chronicle, complete with riveting scenes of Kremlin intrigue and acute psychological analysis that further illuminates some of the nightmarish episodes of Soviet history. 32 pages of photos not seen by PW.
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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