AUTHORTaubman, William
TITLEKhrushchev: The Man and His Era
PUBLISHERW. W. Norton & Co.
CITYNew York, NY

This comprehensive, engaging biography of the former Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev illuminates his irreconcilably dichotomous nature and reveals the character of the time and place in which he lived. Although the biography tends to focus more on Khrushchev’s political triumphs and failures, addressing his role in the Hungarian Revolt, the Cuban Missile Crisis, and the erection of the Berlin Wall for instance, it also attends to more personal qualities of Khrushchev with many anecdotes illustrating his unpredictable behavior. Opening with Khrushchev’s fall from power, the book then proceeds chronologically from his childhood to his death. At once obsequious and defiant, bumbling and assertive, Khrushchev emerges as an enigma, one whom author William Taubman, a political scientist and Soviet historian, untangles through a detailed analysis of the various events – both personal and political – shaping Khrushchev’s assent to the Communist Party’s highest office. Central to Taubman’s work is the often tense and rocky relationship between Khrushchev and Joseph Stalin, elucidated through information gleaned from the memoirs and personal correspondences of people close to Khrushchev. On the whole, Taubman offers a favorable critique, principally applauding Khrushchev’s innovative agricultural policies and his attempts to de-Stalinize the Soviet Union. The book contains black and white photographs of Khrushchev, as well as extensive endnotes, a brief glossary, and a thorough bibliography.

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