At the Highest Levels: The Inside Story of the End of the Cold War

Overview

This is a story that you did not read in the newspapers. At the Highest Levels reveals a hitherto secret dimension of the most momentous event of our time: the end of the Cold War. Beschloss and Talbott show us the vital transactions that George Bush and Mikhail Gorbachev made and concealed from the world: Bush's pledge not to press Gorbachev for Baltic independence, the manipulations for German unification, how the Soviet Union joined the Gulf War Coalition, Bush's private warnings to Gorbachev that he was about...
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Overview

This is a story that you did not read in the newspapers. At the Highest Levels reveals a hitherto secret dimension of the most momentous event of our time: the end of the Cold War. Beschloss and Talbott show us the vital transactions that George Bush and Mikhail Gorbachev made and concealed from the world: Bush's pledge not to press Gorbachev for Baltic independence, the manipulations for German unification, how the Soviet Union joined the Gulf War Coalition, Bush's private warnings to Gorbachev that he was about to be overthrown, and the U.S. president's secret efforts to prevent the breakup of the Soviet Union and keep Gorbachev in power. From early in 1989, the two prizewinning authors were granted unprecedented access to classified U.S. and Soviet documents, cables, telephone transcripts, and diplomatic records, on the condition that they not publish the information before the end of 1992. Such was their access that in the final days before the Soviet Union's collapse, as they relate in this book, Beschloss and Talbott were asked by a Gorbachev confidant to convey to President Bush a private message about Gorbachev's fate under Boris Yeltsin. With novelistic detail and intimacy, At the Highest Levels shows Bush and Gorbachev behind closed doors as they fence with domestic foes and suspicious allies. It demonstrates how the two leaders came to believe that their most dangerous opponents were no longer each other but forces inside their own countries. As Beschloss and Talbott argue, the two leaders' excessive reliance on each other contributed to Gorbachev's fall from power in December 1991 and Bush's own collapse less than a year later.

The widely hailed behind-the-scenes history of the Cold War endgame--a book that brilliantly brings to life the private conversations and secret understandings that changed history. "A highly fluent narrative with the heft and density of history and the emotional resonance of fiction."--New York Times.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
In attempting to establish the social, physiological, cultural and psychological grounds for understanding food and its relationship to the brain, Bourre may have tackled a subject too complex in scope to be covered sufficiently in one volume. Topics such as alcoholism, herbology, vitamin deficiencies and eating disorders are certainly of interest when discussed individually, yet when combined with more complicated interpretations of dietetics and biology, in addition to myriad quotes ranging from those of philosophers to poets, scientists, and chefs, the result is a sometimes confusing array of data and research, gastronomic trivia and psychology. Still, the criticism of ``fashionable dietetics'' is provocative, and there is useful nutritional information, as well as brief histories of food. Bourre, a specialist in brain research, is right to say that too little is known of the mechanics of the brain and much is misunderstood; there is certainly a lot of room for exploration in the field. Unfortunately, however, the book does not explain our most mysterious organ cohesively or conclusively. (Feb.)
Library Journal
Bourre, research director at Paris's Institut National de la Recherche Medicale, argues that cuisine and gastronomy are vital to human nutrition. His book, whose title is somewhat misleading, surveys the basics of dietary biochemistry from protein through the various trace elements and briefly describes the brain and the senses. Despite much useful and detailed information, the author makes some unsubstantiated and contradictory statements (e.g., he claims that the best way to build muscle is to eat meat, while noting that evolving herbivores put on so much muscle as to become moribund). Such comments will certainly provoke controversy, and that alone may generate reader interest. Except where demand warrants, however, this is a questionable purchase.-- Laurie Bartolini, Lincoln Lib., Springfield, Ill.
Booknews
From early in 1989, the authors were privy to classified US and Soviet documents, cables, telephone transcripts, and diplomatic records, on the condition that they not publish the information before the end of 1992. They chronicle the intense and personal interaction between Gorbachev and Bush, who were, as stated in the preface, "...so attuned to each other that it eventually caused both men to lose touch with their domestic constituencies." Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780316092821
  • Publisher: Little, Brown and Company
  • Publication date: 3/28/1994
  • Edition description: 1st Paperback Edition
  • Pages: 521
  • Product dimensions: 5.51 (w) x 8.23 (h) x 1.34 (d)

Meet the Author

Michael R. Beschloss
Michael R. Beschloss
Dubbed "the nation's leading Presidential historian" by Newsweek, Michael R. Beschloss is known for making political leaders past and present come alive with his riveting reportage.

Biography

It's not for nothing that Newsweek has called Michael Beschloss "the nation's leading Presidential historian." As a political science major at Williams College, he wrote his honors thesis on the ambivalent relationship between FDR and Joseph P. Kennedy. Reworked and expanded to book length, the material was published in 1980 under the title Kennedy and Roosevelt: The Uneasy Alliance. Although the book was met with subtle condescension from the notoriously snarky academic community, mainstream critics were quick to lavish praise on Beschloss for his meticulous research and reader-friendly prose style. Encouraged by his publisher, he followed up his debut with another historical narrative, Mayday: Eisenhower, Khrushchev, and the U-2 Affair (1986). Reviewed by Paul A. Kreisberg in Foreign Affairs magazine, the book was described as "popular history at its best: accessible and fascinating reading for those who know little about the subject; containing enough new material and insight to command the attention of serious scholars."

Since then, the high-profile author has carved a lucrative career out of the American Presidency, penning several bestselling biographies and political histories, including The Crisis Years: Kennedy and Khrushchev, 1960-1963, The Conquerors: Roosevelt, Truman and the Destruction of Hitler's Germany, 1941-1945, and Presidential Courage: Brave Leaders and How They Changed America, 1789-1989. In addition, he has edited Lyndon Johnson's White House tapes into a critically acclaimed trilogy and is in demand both as a lecturer and television commentator.

Good To Know

From 1982 until 1986, Beschloss served as a historian at the Smithsonian Institution.

From 1985 until 1987, he was a senior associate member at St. Antony's College, in the University of Oxford, England.

From 1987 until 1996, he was a senior fellow of the Annenberg Foundation in Washington, D.C.

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    1. Also Known As:
      Michael Beschloss
    2. Hometown:
      Washington, D.C.
    1. Date of Birth:
      November 30, 1955
    2. Place of Birth:
      Chicago, Illinois
    1. Education:
      Williams College, Harvard University

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