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Yalta: The Price of Peace Hardcover – February 4, 2010


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 480 pages
  • Publisher: Viking Adult; First Edition edition (February 4, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0670021415
  • ISBN-13: 978-0670021413
  • Product Dimensions: 6.6 x 1.5 x 9.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (34 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #672,973 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. Harvard historian Plokhy (Unmaking Imperial Russia) enhances his stature as a scholar of modern Russia in this convincing revisionist analysis of the February 1945 Yalta conference. Plokhy makes sophisticated use of Soviet sources to make a case that Yalta was anything but the diplomatic defeat for the West so often depicted in cold war literature. He describes Yalta in the context of a clash between different approaches to international relations. FDR was a liberal internationalist. Churchill and Stalin saw the world in terms of power and interests. And with the Red Army only 50 miles from Berlin, Stalin held the trump cards. Plokhy's detailed and highly engrossing narrative of the negotiations shows that the West did reasonably well. Roosevelt's agenda was global. He secured Stalin's commitment to join the war against Japan and participate in the U.N. Churchill, focused on Europe, preserved British interests in the Mediterranean. Stalin achieved recognition of the U.S.S.R.'s great-power status and a sphere of influence in Eastern Europe. The Yalta agreement was not the first conflict of the cold war but just a step toward a cold war that emerged only after three more years of failed negotiations. Maps. (Feb.)
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From Booklist

Revisiting the much-studied Yalta conference of February 1945, historian Plokhy capitalizes on his advantage over prior authors. He had better access to Russian archives, which permits him to vibrantly re-create the summit’s physical surroundings, interpersonal relations, and diplomatic fencing. Because dueling interpretations of Yalta’s protocols contributed significantly to the onset of the cold war, Plokhy’s fundamental thesis questions whether Yalta’s agreements were the best Churchill and Roosevelt could have wrung from Stalin. As Plokhy stresses, the conference participants had, beyond defeating Germany, divergent objectives: FDR wanted the UN and help against Japan; Churchill wanted a free hand in Greece and a restoration of France; Stalin wanted territory from Japan, reparations from Germany, and Communist governments in Eastern Europe. Within the framework of the tense negotiations that ensued, Plokhy brings forth the daily dynamics of Yalta and embroiders them with items behind subsequent recrimination about the conference results, such as FDR’s ill health and the presence of probable Soviet spy Alger Hiss. Releasing the subject from cold war historiography, Plokhy establishes a new standard on Yalta and its controversies. --Gilbert Taylor

More About the Author

S. M. Plokhy (Plokhii) is the Mykhailo Hrushevsky Professor of Ukrainian History at Harvard University. A leading authority on Eastern Europe, he has lived and taught in Ukraine, Canada and the United States. He has published extensively in English, Ukrainian and Russian. For three successive years (2002-2005) his books won first prize of the American Association for Ukrainian Studies. In the fall of 2009, he was honored with the Early Slavic Studies Association Distinguished Scholarship Award. He lives with his family in Arlington, Massachusetts.

Customer Reviews

The writing is clear and occasionally eloquent.
not me
Plokhy's book is a richly detailed and balanced account of the February 1945 Crimean conference between Stalin, Roosevelt and Churchill.
Jedrury
This is a superbly researched and well written and highly readable book.
Rhesus the Leper

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

75 of 80 people found the following review helpful By Todd Bartholomew TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on February 4, 2010
Format: Hardcover
The February 1945 Yalta Conference between Roosevelt, Stalin, and Churchill has long sparked considerable debate, and not just within the historical community. You could fill a small library with books on the topics, ranging from polemical screeds to thoughtful scholarly analysis. Harvard historian Serhii Plokhy (Unmaking Imperial Russia: Mykhailo Hrushevsky and the Writing of Ukrainian History) enters into the historiographical debate with a somewhat revisionist take on the Yalta Conference that is reflective not only of his vast experience writing on Russia, but considerable research of wartime and postwar Soviet, American, and British archives. Much like Fraser J. Harbutt's equally recent Yalta 1945: Europe and America at the Crossroads the argument advanced by Plokhy runs counter to the traditional argument that Stalin turned the tables on the battered and crumbling British Empire and a dying President Roosevelt. Plokhy instead posits that Roosevelt, and especially Churchill proved to be very hard bargainers, and gained considerable concessions considering the Soviet dictator held almost all the cards. Plokhy counters the naïvely feeble American consensus construct that the West was duped by Stalin at Yalta and got nothing except the occupation of territories already occupied by their forces. The reality was that the big three (Churchill, Roosevelt, and Stalin) and their nations all had wildly differing approaches to international relations, which spurred the conflicts and resulted in the misinterpretations and misunderstandings following Yalta.Read more ›
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37 of 39 people found the following review helpful By Paul Gelman on February 11, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Seventy years ago, during February 1945,three leaders were making their way to Yalta.They were:Stalin,Roosevelt and Churchill.As the Second World War was still going on, the three decided to meet in the south of the Crimea-a place which had known wars before.Perhaps the most famous was the Crimean War of the nineteeth century.The three leaders were to decide the fate of the world in a limited number of days.Among the many issues discussed were the fate of Germany,the question of Russia's entrance in the war against Japan,the redrawing of Eastern European borders,particularly those of Poland and.Yalta was always a controversial subject which divided the historians.On the one hand there were those who claimed that Western interests were sacrificed because Churchill and Roosevelt wanted to pacify Stalin.On the other hand there were those who claimed the opposite,namely, that everything was done to achieve a balance of power.
This new study dispels the first myth.Drawing on newly-discovered documents,the thesis of the book is very simple:the Western leaders have done all they could and achieved the best possible results within that period of time.Published and unpublished documents and diaries also confirm this thesis.S.M Plokhy quotes extensively from the diaries of both Churchill's doctor and Roosevelt's daughter and in addition the new documents prove that Stalin did not want to take advantage of Roosvelt's poor health.The new findings confirm that the Russians were extremely resolute to establish control over their Western neighbours,with Poland as the key player.To be precise,after Yalta,each side remained suspicious about the other's intentions.Yalta did not cause the Cold War,on the contrary: the Cold War came afterwards.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By R. M. Peterson TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on April 16, 2010
Format: Hardcover
"Operation Argonaut" was the code name Winston Churchill gave to the conference of the Big Three held in early February 1945 near Yalta in the Crimea. I don't know whether Churchill (or Roosevelt) fancied himself Jason, but the dragon certainly was Joseph Stalin and the Golden Fleece was world peace. In the myth, Jason and the Argonauts were successful in their mission to recover the Golden Fleece, thanks to the potion provided by Medea that put the dragon to sleep. History did not replicate myth, however. Stalin was far from somnolent at Yalta and the Argonauts proved unable to secure world peace.

Yet at the formal dinner that marked the end of the eight-day conference, as Churchill, FDR, and Stalin exchanged toasts and compliments, all of the participants were flush with feelings of accomplishment, cooperation, and optimism. "The evening exemplified what later became known as the spirit of Yalta--the feeling that there were no problems that they could not solve in the future." Nazi Germany was on its deathbed, Soviet Russia had been persuaded to join the Allies in the Pacific war against Japan, and agreement had been reached among the Big Three on the fundamentals of the world organization that would become the United Nations. It was only natural, only human, that after 5+ years of horrific war in Europe people would begin to entertain notions of a lasting peace. But those notions were soon dashed and a few years later many political pundits looked back at Yalta not as a promising step toward world peace but rather as the beginning of a new war, the Cold War. As time passed, Yalta became more and more a suspect or disreputable, even dirty, word in American politics. In 2005, President George W.
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