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Khrushchev: The Man and His Era
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But even if Nikita Sergeyevitch, right hand man to Stalin, participant(however distasteful) in the Ukraine purges, cold war bully to Kennedy's (and to some degree Eisenhower's) naivete, and shoe banger extraordinaire wasn't Mr. Sentimentality, this book divulges a lot about him we can be grateful for. And in looking at the darker side of this major player of the 20th century, Taubman excels at helping us understand him from all angles: his son Sergei, Khruschev's own papers, the historical record here and in Russia, and indeed the correspondence between Khruschev and Kennedy, which began during the Cuban Missile Crisis and did not end until the fall of 1963 (both undoubtedly expected it to continue).
The last is indeed the most poignant, perhaps just for the American reader, perhaps for all of us, since it does signify the attempts of two great but flawed leaders to struggle with the immense burden on their shoulders and try to come to some kind of understanding for the sake of their nations. In doing so, they seem just about to build a friendship.
I found the book a bit too long, and would like the prose to have gone at a more clipping pace. Better editing may have helped. But I will read it again someday and I'm glad to have it on my shelf. I don't see how it could become outdated or lose its importance.