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Summary ↠ E-book, or Kindle E-pub ´ William TaubmanSh and bungling Like Stalin before him he had little respect for other communist statesmen especially Mao who considered Khrushchev a backward hick providing another convenient club for Khrushchev s enemies and soon enough he fell from power Taubman s treatment of Khrushchev s fall seems just a little thin and inadeuate howeverKhrushchev Taubman writes might have made a better manager or engineer than a political leader Although his native gifts sustained him during his rise to the top they failed him when he was there Yet they surely would have sufficed had he pursued his original dream of becoming an industrial engineer Along the way he would have received the higher education he craved and felt confident less driven to play the very role he was determined to transcend that of a simple peasant muzhik whom even a paranoid Stalin could trust Khrushchev s lack of a formal education would be one of his biggest regretsAn accessible well written well researched and well paced biography of an interesting and complex figure who seemed to have let power trump common sense and whose erratic behavior self deception and impulsiveness seemed to disualify him as a statesman Taubman relies heavily on psychoanalysis so much of his portrait may be speculative but Taubman s Khrushchev is ite compelling compared to the colorless functionaries that came after him and his portrait of the man never fails to fascinate or amuse I was consistently impressed with this biography The writing was well developed and the content was well researched Nikita Khrushchev grew Perdido Street Station (New Crobuzon, up a peasant and in rural poverty yet managed to climb to the apex of the Soviet hierarchy His story is an interesting one and all the details along the way are anything but boring His involvement in the Russian Civil War the Ukrainian repression and forced famine of the 1930s World War II and surviving alongside Stalin are all incredibly interesting Yet his dismissal left him feeling isolated suffering from depression andnfulfilled in his duties to leading the Soviet people His memo For many of Just Once (The Runaways, us Russian common man Nikita Khrushchev was the first human face of Soviet leadership Lenin a grainy figure from newsreels or a corpse on display in a tomb Josef Stalin a phantom figure seen with FDR and Churchill in pictures In one news clip breath Khrushchev was grinning gap toothed from one jug ear to the other and in the next moment slamming his shoe down on his desk at the UN To label Mr Khrushchev mercurial is annderstatement He was a bundle of insecurities who far too often acted before thinking rashly believing hubris was the antidote for any confrontation Khrushchev was the proverbial bull who traveled with his own china shop yet he could also be as contrite as a small child this Jekyll and Hyde personality a dangerous combination during the Cold WarThis Soviet style rags to riches story of Khrushchev s life and times is presented here in detail and is in a word compelling The author combines anecdotes first hand accounts and the historical record providing analysis when appropriate including highlighting contemporaneous newsreel footage which I found fascinating Many of the chapters begin with a summary before detailing the topic at hand something this reader found invaluable This is a cradle to grave biography in the best sense of the termSome highlights Considered a blustering neducated stumpy peasant Khrushchev somehow not only survived Stalin s purges but succeeded him as head of the Soviet Union besting the likes of Beria head of the nefarious KGB and General Zhukov the Russian military victor of World War II This is a story in and of itself dispelling any thoughts that Khrushchev was simple or dumb Khrushchev was personally much closer to Stalin than at least
This Reader Knew The Relationship Between The Two Men Complicatedreader knew the relationship between the two men complicated one that haunted Khrushchev continually after Stalin s death in 1953 He was not alone Stalin cast a very long and enduring historic shadow haunting communists and capitalists alike In 1956 once in power Khrushchev delivered his secret speech blasting Stalin and denouncing his ismInitiating the Berlin crisis Khrushchev then seemed to be led into the building of the infamous Wall by East German General Secretary Walter Ulbricht Khrushchev intimidated JFK at Vienna in 1961 and then riding this wave of adrenaline brought the world to the brink of nuclear destruction during the Cuban missile crisis in 1962 this covered in detail here During the late 1950 s and early 1960 s his word was literally law in the USSR affecting millions of his citizens while driving global events as world "leaders such as Eisenhower JFK Macmillan De Gaulle and Mao scrambled in reaction to Khrushchev " such as Eisenhower JFK Macmillan De Gaulle and Mao scrambled in reaction to Khrushchev mood swings All this and much is covered here Highly recommended I found the book ltimately rather boring which is sad because K was not a boring man I was also confused for about the first tbird of the book because I was constantly confused as to when I was It took me that long to realize Taubman s biography was a mix of topical and chronological but with the emphasis on topical Because of this some events and conversations were covered than once In a book this long that is irritating I felt I gained a better nderstand of the goals and efforts of the Soviet Union nder K as well as a much better nderstanding of the US fear of communistic goals to take over smaller third world countries and the Soviet pledge to encourage rebellion wherever there was any dissent I appreciated the irony that toward the end of his life he became almost a dissident but actually became a political criminal And his son Sergei carried out the greatest irony of allIn 1991 Sergei Khurshchev K s son moved to Providence Rhode Island where he has since been a fellow at Brown University teaching Sergei and his wife Velentina obtained American citizenship in 1999 an act that outraged many Russians Even those who aren t nostalgic for communism are chagrined at how empty Nikita Khrushchev s boasts turned out to be Khrushchev crowed that
of Americans met would live nder communism Instead his own son is living nder capitalismAsked if there was anything he regretted Nikita Khrushchev said it was all the blood that he was p to his elbows in bloodOne other thing struck me as I read was how similar in personality are Khrushchev and President Trump For both disagreement is defined as disloyalty Like K Trump will get an ide. T 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. .grandchildren of americans
Taubman s book contains an extensively detailed portrait of Nikita Khrushchev one that does suffer at times from a bit too much detail There s a lot to learn about Khrushchev and this book does a decent job laying out his major accomplishments and failures though it does get bogged down a bit especially in the middle I feel like I nderstand him now having read this book and on the whole I enjoyed it It s debatable whether or not Nikita Khrushchev ever banged his shoe at the United Nations Assembly in 1960 There are photos of him pounding the lectern with his fists and reports of him waving the shoe but some say he never smacked it down The irony as William Taubman points out in this Pulitzer Prize winning biography is that the young Khrushchev was tormented by his lack of shoes as a child and that the moment that came to define him in the history as a rustic vulgarian also demonstrated to Khrushchev just how far he had come from his roots Waving a real shoe at the UN How high he had risenKhrushchev was the energetic son of a poor peasant family on the Russian border with Ukraine who moved southwest into the Donbas region to find metalwork around the coal mines In his early years Khrushchev wished nothing than to be a middle class mechanical engineer and for his whole life he was never so happy as when he was overlooking mechanical blueprints Though he could hardly spell he always claimed his wish was to spend time on his mechanical and cultural education and less in politics But at the new technical schools founded after the Russian Revolution he focused his efforts on running Communist Party cells and rising in the party ranks and eventually caught Stalin s eye He ran the Moscow Party when the famous Moscow subways were built and supervised the political front on the Ukraine in World War II Despite his success his neducated bumptious manner meant he was regarded as a joke in the Soviet Union and in the WestYet after Stalin s death this country bumpkin outmaneuvered his opponents Beria Malenkov Molotov and Zhukov to cement his total power The seeming impossibility of Khrushchev running the country meant that in the vicious world of Soviet politics people felt safe in allying with them ntil he overcame them one by one To illustrate his surprising success Khrushchev often told the sad Ukrainian story of Pinya who was chosen to lead a prison escape by other inmates because they thought he would get shot first as they ran Although Pinya was the dimmest and the smallest of the group he bravely took p the challenge That little Pinya that s me Khrushchev said with all too much self knowledgeAs the Soviet leader Khrushchev denounced Stalin and opened The Ascent of Man up the gulags but also crushed a democratic movement in Prague in 1956 and jailed and silenced his critics at home He camep with the absurd Virgin Lands campaign to start a new agricultural frontier in central Russia but also convinced his engineers to place ICBM missiles in silos against their inclinations He antagonized opponents with his talk of pumping out missiles like sausages when he had none but also traveled across the globe on goodwill tours while previous Soviet leaders had barely left the country Khrushchev obviously was a man of contradictions with much blood on his hands but many successes to celebrate As he himself said in 1964 when Leonid Brezhnev and others overthrew him during a two day Politburo meeting the very fact that they could yell at him and send him off without killing him was his greatest success He had reined the Soviet Union away from the worst excesses of the Stalin yearsThis book was at its best when it detailed Khrushchev s early life and rise but after Khrushchev reaches the pinnacle the author feels compelled to report every jot and tittle of his speeches and doings This would have been an amazing work if it had been 200 pages shorter Nonetheless the author is right that Khrushchev had one of the strangest and most amazing lives of the 20th century and it deserves to be better known A vivid lively and readable biography of Khrushchev a man known for his colorful crude and seemingly The Grand Sophy un statesmanlike conduct Taubman provides a good deal of insight into the man s interesting personality and the various traits that made him both obviously human and also rather repellant The Soviet style of government can benderstood in two different ways authoritarian and centralized Lenin and Stalin with a strong and colorful leader at the top and as a corporate Politburo oriented system occupied by gray listless old men that conformed to the drab and cautious culture of collective leadership Khrushchev seems to be somewhere in the middle between these two extremes if they can be called thatTaubman s Khrushchev is Winners Dream uite an interesting portrait a hardscrabble industrial worker who seemed to have no natural talent raised in a simple hut with dirt floor with a compassion for humanity and a sincere desire to serve his country as he saw it While he proved to be a skilled politician and easy tonderestimate his insecurity over the top mannerisms self righteousness and inferiority complex made him ite suspect to the rest of the Party s gray functionaries He
"SURVIVED STALIN S REIGN BY PLAYING "Stalin s reign by playing
Fool And Getting Everyone To Underestimate Himand getting everyone to nderestimate him began his tenure as head of the Party by ousting Malenkov foiling a coup attempt with Marshal Zhukov s assistance and working hard to bring down the mythical image of Stalin who Taubman calls Khrushchev s mentor and tormentor as well as reducing the powers of the secret police a feat coupled with his rather bold arrest and execution of the feared Beria which revealed a cunning nobody had noticed before He had a complicated relationship with Soviet intellectuals assisting Solzhenitsyn in his work while blasting the work of PasternakKhrushchev had no doubts about the communist system yet favored a policy of peaceful co existence his preference for this was tested during the U 2 incident his reluctant approval of the construction of Berlin Wall and his deployment of nuclear missiles to Cuba without any real backup plan something his political opponents were soon able to se against him likewise his support for nuclear forces at the expense of conventional forces cost him the support of the army establishment He often seemed to adopt policies without fully weighing their implications while his personality was erratic over the top coarse boori. 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 Sovie.
A that he wants to implement some policy and refuses to listen to advisers explaining why that is impractical or inadvisable He wants it it will be done Don t talk to him about compromise Both tout pseudo science and fake science as real and important And neither hadhas a concept of decorum One remembers the tale of K s banging his shoe on the table at the UN Following that he was proud he did it As he was ousted from office K s detractors pointed out that after several years he still saw it as something of valor rather than embarrassing for a world leader to do and harmful to the reputation of the nation Of similar vein Trump chiding on Twitter to North Korea s threats of nuclear attacks that we have a bigger button The world saw with both events What An Idiot But the Soviet Union had an excuse Khruschev took over Trump was electedYet ltimately although K did many many very harmful things to the Soviet Union his move away from the horrors of Stalinism and his move toward reforms paved the way for the glastnost of Gorbachov As much harm as he did to his country he also did good Will Trump be seen historically in the same way despite his harm did he also do good and will the good outweigh the harm With Khrushchev it did not In 1959 Governor Nelson Rockefeller of New York teased Nikita Khrushchev by telling him that half a million Russians had emigrated to New York seeking freedom and opportunity Khrushchev replied that they only came to get higher wages and he knew this because he was almost one of them and had at one time given much consideration to coming Rockefeller responded by saying that if he had he would have ended Como agua para chocolate up as leader of one of the biggestnions I can see that In fact I can see Khrushchev being elected as a US Representative from some working class district from the Midwest In Professor Taubman s book Khrushchev The Man and His Era he gives s a portrait of the man that shows he possessed that kind of relationship with the ordinary people he met in the course of his day to day work in Russia and in his travels all over the world He was what we would call a natural Even though he rose to the highest of positions he was born into the lowest A peasant neducated beyond the ability to barely read and write nsophisticated even boorish he was able because of his native intelligence and incredible abilities to succeed in what can only be described as a cutthroat era Taubman statestaken in its entirety his life holds a mirror to the Soviet age as a whole Revolution civil war collectivization and industrialization terror world war cold war late Stalinism post Stalinism Khrushchev took part in them allSince his life encompassed so much of the Soviet experiment and included the extreme violence and murderous aspect of the beginning decades Khrushchev s hands were hardly clean But it was he who denounced Stalin in his secret speech to the Twentieth Congress He tried to introduce reforms periodically in the years that followed but his behavior was so erratic that no one ever could be certain of what policy would remain and for how long As Taubman puts it he didn t think things through very well He insulted his officials repeatedly and his behavior in the West was felt to be embarrassing for Russia His shoe banging incident at the UN and his mishandling
the Cuban crisis eventually led to his downfall and forced resignation Khrushchev The Man and His Era is a complex but never boring story of an nusual life The endless parade of Russian names and titles make for difficult reading but there s no way around that one It does get very repetitive in its description of Khrushchev as Multiple Mayhem (Gabby Duran uneducated foolish louacious etc in almost every chapter accompanied by endless anecdotes of barnyard language that Khrushchev was fond ofsing But these are minor complaints in such a compelling story Excellent book Fascinating insights about the man and Russia Khrushchev was born in 1894 and he was an eye witness to the Bolshevik Revolution the two world wars the cold war the crisis in Berlin and the crisis in Cuba A man of bluster energy and high hopes for the communist dream he helped bring the USSR down when he condemned Stalin after his death for the atrocities and false imprisonments of millions he suspected of standing in his way Damage to the image of Stalin was something communism could not face and survive especially when the system went bankrupt and agriculture and th This was a well researched comprehensive Pulitzer Prize winning biography of Khrushchev Khrushchev was a complex common man who rose far beyond his competence level This was remarkable as he lacked in education read little and wrote less In spite of this he wanted to improve the Soviet system for everyone by implementing reforms and reduce corruption K s life and career extended from the revolution civil war famine industrialization Stalinism world war and the cold war He was complicit in Stalin s crimes but retained his humanity by condemning Stalin He thought that Stalin had perverted the Marxist Leninist ideology and Soviet political system K attempted to reform communism after he took control of the party leadership and awkwardly attempted to ease the cold war He made promises to surpass the west in many ways with his tremendous powerof the cuban
and then ousted to lose much the insightsthen ousted to lose much The insights Russia and the man were fascinating Taubman paints an in depth portrait of K s achievements and failures It is a must read for everyone The war WWII traumatized Khrushchev It drove him to smoke and to drink it commanded attention in his memoirs than almost any other subject but he couldn t bring himself to read others war memoirs in retirement Yet the same war added several medals to his collectionThis was a well paced and meticulously researched biography that won the Pulitzer Prize in 2003 The lengthy section on the Cuban Missile Crisis was absolutely superb and the section on Khrushchev s downfall was eually superb and surprisingly sentimental enough to feel sorry for the man who The Eagles Nest (The New Avengers, unwittingly did than anyone to bring the world to the brink of Nuclear War and lefts with the disturbing legacy that is the Nuclear Arms race Nikita Khrushchev was born a hundred miles south of Moscow in April of 1894 He lived with his mother and grandparents during his youth while his father worked in the mines When Khrushchev turned fifteen he traveled than 200 miles to work alongside his father in the mines and cont. CrisesThis 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 er.