Reflecting the growing revisionist inter est in the Eisenhower presidency, MAYDAY is a comprehensive account of the CIA's U-2 program, which be came public knowledge only after the downing of Francis Gary Powers over Soviet airspace in 1960. Though a bit long, MAYDAY is an engaging, often exciting narrative that relies heavily on manuscript sources and interviews with key survivors of the Eisenhower ad ministration. Beschloss presents a bal anced picture and never fails to weigh the public debacle of the Powers inci dent against the virtual intelligence bo nanza produced by the previous four years of U-2 flights. His portraits of both Khrushchev and Eisenhower are excellent, as are briefer sketches of oth er key figures. A solid work certain to spark further interest in the diplomacy of the Cold War. Suitable for most aca demic and larger public libraries. Jo seph W. Constance, Jr., Georgia State Univ. Lib., Atlanta
Michael Beschloss skillfully integrates a lot of material from a lot of sources on a lot of subjects into a very readable and thoroughly documented account, which is part thriller and part political history....The title refers both to the date of the incident and to the code signal for distress. But ''Mayday'' can also stand as a metaphor for the relationship between the superpowers. BOTH SIDES MISCALCULATED. -- New york Times
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.
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.