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Khrushchev's Cold War: The Inside Story of an American Adversary Hardcover – October 17, 2006
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This makes for startling reading. For those of us used to seeing history in broad terms as a somewhat logical result of competing forces (political, military, moral, economic and cultural), this book provides a bucket of icy water in the face. The drivers of policy were all too often not reasonable responses to existing circumstances but irrational, thoughtless, ill-considered and unrealistic reactions based on hubris, petulance and plain stupidity. Khrushchev was clueless (perhaps we already suspected this). But so too was the entire Politburo (less predictable). And so too were the Western leaders--de Gaulle and Eden in particular; Adenauer also; Ike and JFK come through a little better, although far from unscathed.
This last is especially troubling. In authoritarian regimes thugs and idiots rise naturally to the top, but in developed Western democracies the system should inculcate a certain rationality in leadership, something mandated by the need to respond to the will of the electorate.
Which of course brings us to today. The Suez debacle and Iraq have obvious parallels.Read more ›
It is a wonder that a hot war was avoided when you are confronted by the authors, Fursenko and Naftali, with the gamesmanship, often played during this period in a vacum of real knowledge, on both sides of the Iron Curtin. It is a further wonder that the bankrupt political and economic system that was the USSR lasted as long as it did.
Khrushchev's Cold War provides a somewhat less favorable portrait of the Soviet leader. Its emphasis is not on the contrast between Khrushchev's good and bad instincts, but rather on his ironic policy of confrontation with the West in order to make the USSR more like the West--in terms of military power, standard of living, and perhaps even provision for peaceful transfer of political power within the Soviet Union. Authors Aleksandr Fursenko and Timothy Naftali have produced a massive, but very readable, 670-page volume (including 74 pages of annotation and a 45-page index). Fursenko was chairman of the history department of the Russian Academy of Sciences; Naftali, the former director of the Presidential Recordings Project at the University of Virginia, subsequently served as director of the Richard Nixon Presidential Library, and as a consultant to the 9/11 Commission.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Definitely 5 stars. Entertaining, well-written, extremely informative. Provides an excellent perspective on the evolution of very dangerous issues and the personalities and... Read morePublished 2 months ago by Bucky Badger
Naftali is a Hungarian and I'm a Romanian so I guess this should be hard: HE'S ONE OF THE MOST PRODUCTIVE AND DEDICATED COLD WAR HISTORIANS AROUND...... Read morePublished on April 6, 2013 by danT
This book is a must read for those who want to understand Soviet foreign policy during the time that Krushchev was the leader of the USSR. Read morePublished on November 27, 2012 by Donald Haverstrom
With the increasing availability of formerly classified Soviet documents, the authors' have compiled a dramatic re-examination of Khrushchev's pivotal role during
the Cold... Read more
ALEKSANDR FURSENKO'S and TIMOTHY NAFTALI'S KHRUSCHEV'S COLD WAR is one of the best books written on the Soviet leaders life in recent years and incorporates many newly declassified... Read morePublished on March 31, 2010 by Lehigh History Student
This book is a gripping read, and it contains new insights into the Cold War, and the authors add some interesting brushstrokes to our historical portrait of Krushchev. Read morePublished on February 12, 2009 by John W. Chuckman
I'm about 2/3 done with it. I'm reading it slow because i'm busy, but I'm enjoying it.
Having been born in late 1955, as a kid, we saw Khrushchev as a very scary,... Read more
Khrushchev was a fascinating character. He is one of the few Soviet leaders, which had humanity and warmth. Read morePublished on June 29, 2007 by BernardZ