The Ambassadors and America's Soviet Policy / Edition 1

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George Kennan, Charles Bohlen, W. Averell Harriman, William Bullitt, Joseph E. Davies, Llewlleyn Thompson, Jack Matlock: these are important names in the history of American foreign policy. Together with a number of lesser-known officials, these diplomats played a vital role in shaping U.S. strategy and popular attitudes toward the Soviet Union throughout its 75-year history. In The Ambassadors and America's Soviet Policy, David Mayers presents the most comprehensive critical examination yet of U.S. diplomats in the Soviet Union.
Mayers' vivid portrayal evokes the social and intellectual atmosphere of the American embassy in the midst of crucial episodes: the Bolshevik Revolution, the Great Purges, the Grand Alliance in World War II, the early Cold War, the Cuban Missile Crisis, the rise and decline of detente, and the heady days of perestroika and glasnost. He also offers rare portraits of the professional lives of the diplomats themselves: their adjustment to Soviet life, the quality of their analytical reporting, their contact with other diplomats in Moscow, and their influence on Washington.
Assessing the strengths and weaknesses of American diplomacy in its most challenging area, this compelling book fills an important gap in the history of U.S. foreign policy and U.S.-Soviet relations. Readers interested in U.S. foreign policy, the cold war, and the policies and history of the former Soviet Union will find The Ambassadors and America's Soviet Policy an intriguing and informative work.
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"Mayers' skill in evoking the travails of the Moscow station and in assessing the advice and impact of U.S. ambassadors, together with his keen sense of the functions of diplomacy, makes for enthralling reading. This is scholarly history at its best: sharp in its judgments but at the same time scrupulously fair and exhaustive."--Foreign Affairs

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Brimming with revelations, Mayers's study pulls diplomacy from the shadows and highlights its role in shaping U.S.-Soviet relations. His specific subject is U.S. ambassadors to the U.S.S.R.; his thesis is that America's Soviet policy benefited when the Moscow embassy was in competent hands and, conversely, suffered when the mission was sacrificed to political expediency, staffed by the mediocre or ignored by Washington. As examples of diplomatic successes, he cites Averell Harriman's cementing of a wartime alliance with the Soviets to defeat Hitler, Foy Kohler's meetings with Khrushchev during the 1962 Cuban missile crisis and Jack Matlock's close relations with Kremlin leaders as the U.S.S.R. tilted toward collapse in the late 1980s. On the negative side, he lists David Francis, befuddled by Bolshevism and the October Revolution; Joseph Davies, apologist for Stalin's purge trials; and Eisenhower's neglect of ambassadors Charles Bohlen and Llewellyn Thompson, whose analysis of the deteriorating Sino-Soviet alliance and of Khrushchev's erratic career could have been strategically advantageous. Mayers (George Kennan and the Dilemmas of U.S. Foreign Policy) is a political science professor at Boston University. Photos. (Feb.)
Library Journal
The writing of books on U.S.-Soviet relations knows no end. For the jaded scholar sickened by seeing the same subject tossed over and over, this new book should serve as a happy antidote. Mayers, a professor of political science at Boston University who previously authored George Kennan & the Dilemmas of U.S. Foreign Policy (Oxford Univ. Pr., 1988), has produced a superbly written and well-researched history of the men who served as U.S. ambassadors to the Soviet Union. Compelling portraits of Kennan, Charles Bohlen, Averell Harriman, William Bullitt, Thomas Watson Jr., and Jack Matlock fill this volume, helping the reader (perhaps for the first time) really begin to understand the complexities of dealing with the Soviet leadership. This detailed study moves swiftly in the telling and will more than likely be considered the standard work on the subject for years to come. Highly recommended for academic and larger public libraries.-Ed Goedeken, Iowa State Univ. Lib., Ames
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780195115765
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA
  • Publication date: 2/28/1997
  • Edition description: REPRINT
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 368
  • Product dimensions: 6.06 (w) x 9.13 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author

David Mayers holds a joint appointment in the History and Political Science departments of Boston University. He is the author of George Kennan and the Dilemmas of US Foreign Policy (Oxford, 1988), among other books.

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Table of Contents

United States Chiefs of Mission in St. Petersburg and Moscow x
Introduction 3
I Before Moscow
1. St. Petersburg and the U.S. Diplomatic Tradition 11
2. From Comity to Estrangement 35
3. War and Revolution 67
II In Stalin's Time
4. Preparing for Moscow 93
5. Purges and the Failure of Collective Security 108
6. Fragile Coalition 136
7. Neither War Nor Peace 164
III Great Power Rivalry
8. After Stalin 191
9. Controlled Rivalry 212
10. Collapse and the Art of Diplomacy 239
Notes 261
Bibliography 307
Index 323
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