Sunday, October 22, 2017

Book: "K Blows Top" by Peter Carlson

Carlson, Peter. 2009. K Blows Top: A Cold War Comic Interlude, Starring Nikita Khruschev, America's Most Unlikely Tourist. PublicAffairs.

I bought this when I was in Moscow as some light travel reading. The book actually covers three trips: then-Vice President Nixon's trip to Moscow in 1959, Kruschev's grand American tour later in 1959, and Kruschev's subsequent visit to New York in 1960 to speak at the United Nations. The last of these featured the famous shoe-pounding episode. The book has the light and often humorous tone suggested by the title, but indirectly provides some serious history as well. I was reminded how seriously the public used to take the major mainstream media (and by contrast how far they have fallen in public esteem since that time). Indeed, the author makes a good argument that Kruschev's first visit was the first true modern media circus. For those too young to have experienced the cold war first hand, the book provides some sense of how it differs from our current fears.

Recommend if you are interested in the history of the cold war.

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