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Synopsis

Western interpretations of the Cold War--both realist and neoconservative--have erred by exaggerating either the Kremlin's pragmatism or its aggressiveness, argues Vladislav Zubok. Explaining the interests, aspirations, illusions, fears, and misperceptions of the Kremlin leaders and Soviet elites, Zubok offers a Soviet perspective on the greatest standoff of the twentieth century.

Using recently declassified Politburo records, ciphered telegrams, diaries, and taped conversations, among other sources, Zubok explores the origins of the superpowers' confrontation under Stalin, Khrushchev's contradictory and counterproductive attempts to ease tensions, the surprising story of Brezhnev's passion for detente, and Gorbachev's destruction of the Soviet superpower as the by-product of his hasty steps to end the Cold War and to reform the Soviet Union. The first work in English to cover the entire Cold War from the Soviet side, A Failed Empire provides a history different from those written by the Western victors.

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