For the generations who lived through the '60s, Nikita Khrushchev left an indelible legacy when he banged his shoe on a United Nations podium. Beyond this memorable image, Taubman's biography demonstrates the Janus-faced leader's enormous breadth. Khrushchev was one of Stalin's three closest political cronies, yet in 1956 he exposed Stalin's crimes to the Party congress.

Although Khrushchev sent thousands of Russians to prison and to execution, he nonetheless "de-Stalinized" Russia. As Leon Aron writes, "He was crude, dogmatic and merciless; also generous, public-spirited and forgiving." Taubman exploits a rich store of American and Russian archival materials to develop his portrait of a leader who sincerely believed in the reformative power of Communism yet brutally repressed his opponents, and masterfully sets him in the context of his times.

"Taubman's thorough and nuanced account is the first full-length American biography of Khrushchev—and will likely be the definitive one for a long time."—Publishers Weekly
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