Khrushchev: Book summary and reviews of Khrushchev by William Taubman

Khrushchev

The Man and His Era

By William Taubman

Khrushchev

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Book Summary

The definitive biography of the mercurial Soviet leader who succeeded and denounced Stalin. Nikita Khrushchev was one of the most complex and important political figures of the twentieth century. Ruler of the Soviet Union during the first decade after Stalin's death, Khrushchev left a contradictory stamp on his country and on the world. His life and career mirror the Soviet experience: revolution, civil war, famine, collectivization, industrialization, terror, world war, cold war, Stalinism, post-Stalinism. Complicit in terrible Stalinist crimes, Khrushchev nevertheless retained his humanity: his daring attempt to reform communism prepared the ground for its eventual collapse; and his awkward efforts to ease the cold war triggered its most dangerous crises. This is the first comprehensive biography of Khrushchev and the first of any Soviet leader to reflect the full range of sources that have become available since the USSR collapsed. Combining a page-turning historical narrative with penetrating political and psychological analysis, this book brims with the life and excitement of a man whose story personified his era.

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Book Awards

  • award image Pulitzer Prize for Letters, Drama and Music, 2004
  • award image National Book Critics Circle Award, 2003

Reviews

Media Reviews

"Taubman has pieced together a remarkably detailed chronicle, complete with riveting scenes of Kremlin intrigue and acute psychological analysis" - PW

"The shoe-banging incident, the Berlin Wall, Sputnik, and the Cuban Missile Crisis are all woven together with the accuracy of an academic and the style of a writer." - Library Journal

"Altogether superb: an essential study of power and its corruptions and contradictions. " - Kirkus

"It is rich in analysis and factual detail, shedding new light both on Khrushchev's life and on the Soviet state." - The New York Review of Books

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