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Memoirs of Nikita Khrushchev: Volume 2: Reformer, 1945-1964 Library Binding – September 1, 2006


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Memoirs of Nikita Khrushchev: Volume 2: Reformer, 1945-1964 + Memoirs of Nikita Khrushchev: Volume 3: Statesman, 1953-1964
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Product Details

  • Library Binding: 896 pages
  • Publisher: Penn State University Press (September 1, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0271028610
  • ISBN-13: 978-0271028613
  • Product Dimensions: 2.2 x 6.3 x 9.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,040,265 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

Nikita Khrushchev was one of the most important political leaders of the twentieth century. Without his memoirs, neither the rise and fall of the Soviet Union nor the history of the Cold War can be fully understood. By dictating his memoirs and publishing them in the West, Khrushchev transformed himself from the USSR's leader to one of its first dissidents. His remarkably candid recollections were a harbinger of glasnost to come. Like virtually all memoirs, his have a personal and political agenda, but even what might be called Khrushchev's 'myth of himself' is vital for understanding how this colorful figure could place his contradictory stamp on his country and the world. The fact that the full text of Khrushchev's memoirs will now be available in English is cause for rejoicing. --William Taubman, Amherst College, author of Khrushchev: The Man and His Era

The single most comprehensive, candid, and authoritative account of the inner workings of the Kremlin leadership. . . . One of the most extraordinary archives of the twentieth century. --Strobe Talbott, former U.S. Deputy Secretary of State

This is the second of three huge volumes that present, for the first time in English, a complete version of the tape-recorded memoirs of Nikita Khrushchev, the leader of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union (SPSU) from September 1953 to October 1964. Pennsylvania State University Press deserves praise for taking on this enormous task, which was supported in part by grants from a number of individuals and private foundations. . . . The 3-volume set of Khrushchev's memoirs is an indispensable resource for scholars interested in Soviet politics, Soviet foreign policy, and the Cold War. This second volume is especially useful in its discussion of political rivalries, the Machiavellian nature of Soviet politics, and the dilemmas of Soviet military policy in the nuclear age. --Mark Kramer, Journal of Modern History

The single most comprehensive, candid, and authoritative account of the inner workings of the Kremlin leadership. . . . One of the most extraordinary archives of the twentieth century. --Strobe Talbott, former U.S. Deputy Secretary of State

This is the second of three huge volumes that present, for the first time in English, a complete version of the tape-recorded memoirs of Nikita Khrushchev, the leader of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union (SPSU) from September 1953 to October 1964. Pennsylvania State University Press deserves praise for taking on this enormous task, which was supported in part by grants from a number of individuals and private foundations. . . . The 3-volume set of Khrushchev's memoirs is an indispensable resource for scholars interested in Soviet politics, Soviet foreign policy, and the Cold War. This second volume is especially useful in its discussion of political rivalries, the Machiavellian nature of Soviet politics, and the dilemmas of Soviet military policy in the nuclear age. --Mark Kramer, Journal of Modern History

From the Publisher

"Nikita Khrushchev was one of the most important political leaders of the twentieth century. Without his memoirs, neither the rise and fall of the Soviet Union nor the history of the Cold War can be fully understood. By dictating his memoirs and publishing them in the West, Khrushchev transformed himself from the USSR’s leader to one of its first dissidents. His remarkably candid recollections were a harbinger of glasnost to come. . Like virtually all memoirs, his have a personal and political agenda, but even what might be called Khrushchev’s ‘myth of himself’ is vital for understanding how this colorful figure could place his contradictory stamp on his country and the world. The fact that the full text of Khrushchev’s memoirs will now be available in English is cause for rejoicing." —William Taubman, Amherst College, author of Khrushchev: The Man and His Era

"The single most comprehensive, candid, and authoritative account of the inner workings of the Kremlin leadership. . . . One of the most extraordinary archives of the twentieth century." —Strobe Talbott, former U.S. Deputy Secretary of State

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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Leonard Fleisig TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on March 9, 2007
Format: Library Binding Verified Purchase
what a monster, what a chaos, what a subject of contradiction, what a prodigy!"

Blaise Pascal's words seem an apt way to begin a review of Volume II of Nikita S. Khrushchev's memoirs, "Memoirs of Nikita Khrushchev: Reformer, 1945-1964" Nikita Sergeevich Khrushchev was a larger than life figure who commanded the world's attention during his more than ten year reign as leader of the Soviet Union. Khrushchev was an extraordinarily complex man with great talent and energy who was also full of internal contradictions and conflicts. The child of peasants, Khrushchev had only four years of formal education. Yet he rose up from the ranks of the proletariat (perhaps the only Soviet leader with true proletarian roots) to become the leader of one of the superpowers of the 20th century. He grew to power during Stalin's reign of terror by being an active participant and collaborator in the Court of the Red Tsar. Yet, this same man's denunciation of Stalin at the Soviet Party Congress in 1956 and the subsequent return of thousands of prisoners from the Gulag marked an incredible change in Soviet life.

The essayist John Berger once said that "autobiography begins with a sense of being alone. It is an orphan form." As I read "Reformer" I could not help but notice the feeling of ineffable sadness, a "sense of being alone" hanging like a low cloud over an aging, isolated man as he dictates his Memoirs. "Reformer", is in one sense the record of a proud man defending his life. The individual reader will have to come to his own verdict about that life; a short review is not the place for an exegesis on the triumphs and tribulations of such a complicated man.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Christian Schlect VINE VOICE on June 8, 2007
Format: Library Binding Verified Purchase
Not a book for one trying to obtain a concise balanced history of one of the more important figures of the last century.

But wonderful for anyone deeply interested in what was ticking in the mind of a top official of the USSR who served with, and immediately after, the tyrant Stalin. When done reading this book, one can only be amazed that the Communists held power for as long as they did given the flawed system they so resolutely defended, which failed at adequately sheltering, clothing, and feeding the common citizen.

Khrushchev was at heart a mostly good man (he did serve at the murderous Stalin's knee and did arrange the death of his own rival, Beria). He wanted to, by strong management, energize the economic command and control system devised by Lenin and, thereby, bring a better life (measured against America) to the workers and peasants. His energetic, but ultimately futile, work in agriculture takes up much of this memoir.

The book is enhanced by the writings provided in its appendix by an insightful Anatoly Strelyany and a very human Mrs. Khrushchev, as well as by the excellent detailed chapter notes provided by Sergei Khrushchev -- a most able editor and the type of son all major historical figures would be blessed to have.
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