The riveting behind-the-scenes account of the Cold War's endgame and the secret negotiations that changed world history. When US President George Bush met with Soviet Premier Mikhail Gorbachev in December 1989, the Berlin Wall had fallen and the twin policies of perestroika and glasnost were bringing new freedoms to millions of people across the Eastern Bloc. But the peaceful end of the Cold War was far from assured. It would require the leaders of rival superpowers to develop a partnership strong enough to look beyond the deep-seeded animosities of the past and embrace an uncertain future. At the Highest Levels is the fascinating story of that unlikely partnership and the role Bush, Gorbachev, and their closest advisers, including Secretary of State James Baker and Minister of Foreign Affairs Eduard Shevardnadze, played in the liberation of Eastern Europe, the disbanding of the Warsaw Pact, the suspension of the Soviet Communist Party, and the dissolution of the USSR. Granted extraordinary access during the crucial period from 1989 through 1991, coauthors Michael Beschloss and Strobe Talbott reveal the private conversations and closed-door meetings at the Kremlin, White House, Pentagon, CIA, and KGB that negotiated an end to the nuclear arms race and decades of proxy wars. We also see the human cost of high-stakes international diplomacy as Bush and Gorbachev, while growing closely attuned to each other, fall out of touch with their domestic constituencies and lose their jobs to Bill Clinton and Boris Yeltsin. Hailed by the New York Times as "intimate and utterly absorbing," At the Highest Levels is a spellbinding, almost hour-by-hour account of one of the most momentous historical changes in modern history.
The groundbreaking and revelatory tale of the most dangerous years of the Cold War and the two leaders who held the fate of the world in their hands. This bestselling history takes us into the tumultuous period from 1960 through 1963 when the Berlin Wall was built and the Bay of Pigs invasion and the Cuban Missile Crisis brought the United States and Soviet Union to the abyss. In this compelling narrative, author Michael Beschloss, praised by Newsweek as "the nation's leading Presidential historian," draws on declassified American documents and interviews with Kennedy aides and Soviet sources to reveal the inner workings of the CIA, Pentagon, White House, KGB, and politburo, and show us the complex private relationship between President John F. Kennedy and Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev. Beschloss discards previous myths to show how the miscalculations and conflicting ambitions of those leaders caused a nuclear confrontation that could have killed tens of millions of people. Among the cast of characters are Robert Kennedy, Robert McNamara, Adlai Stevenson, Fidel Castro, Willy Brandt, Leonid Brezhnev, and Andrei Gromyko. The Bay of Pigs invasion, the Vienna Summit, the Berlin Crisis, and what followed are rendered with urgency and intimacy as the author puts these dangerous years in the context of world history. "Impressively researched and engrossingly narrated" (Los Angeles Times), The Crisis Years brings to vivid life a crucial epoch in a book that David Remnick of the New Yorker has called the "definitive" history of John F. Kennedy and the Cold War.
While reading Arthur Schlesinger, Jr. 's interviews of Jacqueline Kennedy, readers will be able to go back in time 50 years, and feel like they are part of a conversation between two old friends. The text includes complete transcripts of Jacqueline's interviews that allows readers a window into an important time in American history; it also has accompanying annotations from leading presidential historian Michael Beschloss which informs readers on political details of the era.
Story of the relationship between Joseph Kennedy and FDR.
The tempestuous relationship between a towering American president and the founder of an American political dynasty--and its impact on history. When Franklin Roosevelt ran for president in 1932, he won support from the little-known, Boston-born financier and ex-Hollywood mogul Joseph Kennedy. The politician and the businessman formed a partnership that helped to bring Roosevelt to the White House, where he fought the Great Depression and institutionalized the New Deal. But the mutual admiration born of Roosevelt and Kennedy's shared victories, including the latter's stint as the first chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission, where he worked to clean up Wall Street, was severely tested as Nazism rolled across Europe. Eager to protect the lives of his four sons and to see that his family would retain the wealth and social status he had fought so hard to achieve, Kennedy desperately wanted America to stay out of World War II. As Roosevelt's ambassador to Great Britain, he enthusiastically supported the British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain's policy of appeasing Adolf Hitler. By 1940, his isolationism forced an angry showdown with his boss at the Roosevelt mansion at Hyde Park. "I never want to see that son of a bitch again as long as I live," the president told his wife, Eleanor. After America entered World War II, Kennedy retreated from the spotlight and turned to the political ambitions of his sons. By 1960, when Franklin Roosevelt Jr. campaigned for John F. Kennedy to win the presidency, the complex relationship between their two families had come full circle. To tell this story, bestselling author Michael Beschloss has drawn on crucial sources that had never been seen by other historians, such as Joseph Kennedy's private diaries and his unpublished diplomatic memoir. Beschloss also interviewed a number of Roosevelt's White House aides, as well as three of the president's sons. Kennedy and Roosevelt was Beschloss's first book, and has been hailed by the New York Times Book Review as a "fascinating" account of "the complex, ambiguous relationship of two shrewd, ruthless, power-hungry men."
The "definitive" book on the U-2 episode and its disastrous impact on the future of the Cold War (Kirkus Reviews). On May Day 1960, Soviet forces downed a CIA spy plane flown deep into Soviet territory by Francis Gary Powers two weeks before a crucial summit. This forced President Dwight Eisenhower to decide whether, in an effort to save the meeting, to admit to Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev--and the world--that he had secretly ordered Powers's flight, or to claim that the CIA could take such a significant step without his approval. In rich and fascinating detail, Mayday explores the years of U-2 flights, which Eisenhower deemed "an act of war," the US government's misconceived attempt to cover up the true purpose of the flight, Khrushchev's dramatic revelation that Powers was alive and in Soviet custody, and the show trial that sentenced the pilot to prison and hard labor. From a U-2's cramped cockpit to tense meetings in the Oval Office, the Kremlin, Camp David, CIA headquarters, the Élysée Palace, and Number Ten Downing Street, historian Michael Beschloss draws on previously unavailable CIA documents, diaries, and letters, as well as the recollections of Eisenhower's aides, to reveal the full high-stakes drama and bring to life its key figures, which also include Richard Nixon, Allen Dulles, and Charles de Gaulle. An impressive work of scholarship with the dramatic pacing a spy thriller, Mayday "may be one of the best stories yet written about just how those grand men of diplomacy and intrigue conducted our business" (Time).
On May 1, 1960, Francis Gary Powers flew a U-2 spy plane deep into Soviet airspace and was downed. Powers and his equipment survived and were captured, becoming a pivotal episode in the Cold War.