Crisis Years: Kennedy and Khrushchev, 1960-1963

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
During the years 1960-1963, the world came closer than at any time before or since to nuclear incineration. It was during this period too that the United States and the Soviet Union launched the greatest arms race in history. Beschloss here examines the tense, dynamic and very dangerous relationship between the superpower leaders, John Kennedy and Nikita Khrushchev, focusing largely on the 1961 summit conference regarding Berlin and the Cuban missile crisis of the following year. Drawing on newly declassified U.S. government sources and oral and written reminiscences by Soviet figures recently made available to Western scholars, Beschloss ( Mayday ) expands our knowledge and understanding of Soviet decision-making with material about Kremlin discussions during the Cuban crisis, behind-the-scenes maneuvers of Leonid Brezhnev, the Soviet reaction to the Kennedy assassination and Khrushchev's fall from power in '64. An exciting and informative narrative that will appeal to a wide readership. Photos. 75,000 first printing; $100,000 ad/promo; BOMC alternate; author tour. (June)
Library Journal
In the early 1960s, competition between the United States and the USSR produced resounding clashes over the future of Berlin and the appearance of Soviet missles in Cuba. These confrontations brought on a more intense Cold War, a vigorous new arms race, and the world's closest approach to nuclear holocaust. Benefiting from newly available primary sources, Beschloss has given us an enthralling, popularly written, and thoroughly documented chronicle of the times. The author of Mayday: Eisenhower, Khrushchev, and the U-2 Affair ( LJ 5/15/86) presents well-drawn portraits of major actors from heads of state to KGB agents and even verbatim transcripts of planning sessions within his detailed, chronological account of events. Beschloss infuses his work with penetrating analysis, a compelling sense of drama, and insightful reevaluation of President Kennedy's performance. Highly recommended for academic, public, and high school libraries. Previewed in Prepub Alert, LJ 2/1/91; BOMC selection.--James R. Kuhlman, Univ. of Georgia Lib., Athens
Michael Krepon
When Mr. Beschloss reaches for controversy, he weakens an otherwise commendable book. This lengthy book contains some errors, primarily in the arcane areas of nuclear weapons and arms control. More problematic is Mr. Beschloss's occasional tendency to offer and dwell on controversial hypotheses where evidence is thin....Such efforts are unnecessary, as there is no need to spice up the story of two fascinating leaders who were bound together in the crises they helped to create. -- New York Times
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780060981051
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 4/1/1992
  • Pages: 816

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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