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The Russia Hand
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About the Author

Strobe Talbott was the architect of the Clinton administration's policy toward Russia and the other states of the former Soviet Union. He served as deputy secretary of state for even years. A former Time magazine columnist and Washington bureau chief, he is the translator-editor of Nikita Khrushchev's memoirs and the author of six books on U.S.-Soviet relations. He is now director of the Yale Center for the Study of Globalization.

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Deputy secretary of state during much of Clinton's administration, Talbott was charged with helping Russia save itself after the collapse of communism. Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.

Talbott (At the Higher Levels), Clinton's top adviser on Russia policy and deputy secretary of state from 1994 to 2001, recalls the president musing, "the thing about Yeltsin I really like... is that he's not a Russian bureaucrat. He's an Irish poet. He sees politics as a novel he's writing or a symphony he's composing.... It's why he's better than the others. But it's also his shortcoming." In this memoir of his years in the State Department, Talbott traces the evolving relationship between Clinton and the mercurial Yeltsin, recalls his own encounters with key Russian and American players (including some colorful cameos of Nixon) and describes how he and his State Department colleagues negotiated nettlesome issues like arms control, the expansion of NATO, the cease-fire in Chechnya and American missile defense. Yeltsin weathered several near-disasters as Russia's first post-Soviet leader, such as the shelling of his residence by Communist opposition in 1993, an election he nearly lost to a Communist rival in 1996 and the country's economic collapse in 1998 not to mention his own alcoholism, depression and ill health. Talbott movingly depicts Clinton's steadfast, affectionate loyalty toward "Ol' Boris" through these crises a devotion that sometimes went against the advice of his Russia experts. Talbott also expresses reservations about Yeltsin's successor, Putin, whom he describes as part of a sea change in Russian politics over the last few years from "unabashedly pro-Western reformers... toward nationalistic bureaucrats." Though there's probably too much detailed policy analysis for general readers, Talbott is a fluid and often engaging writer, and those who are wonkishly inclined should enjoy his war stories. (On sale June 4) Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.

"Once again Strobe Talbott has written an important and insightful diplomatic history. This richly crafted book, the first authoritative inside account of President Clinton's personal diplomacy with Russian presidents Boris Yeltsin and Vladimir Putin, could have been written only by Talbott, with his reporter's eye for the telling anecdote, his deep knowledge of Russia, his intimate personal involvement in the events he describes, and his central role as Clinton's 'go-to-guy' on Russia policy. The portraits of Clinton, Yeltsin and others, as well as the blow-by-blow account of the roller coaster Russian-American relationship in the Clinton years, ensure that The Russia Hand will be a sourcebook for future historians."
--Hedrick L. Smith

"The Russia Hand is easily one of the best memoirs of Presidential diplomacy ever written. With his great command of history, gift of language, sense of detail, and eight years at the center of American foreign policy-making, Strobe Talbott has brought us a fascinating, often surprising account of an historic and pivotal period. The Russia Hand shows us what a complex and impressive achievement it was for the United States to build a lasting relationship with its old enemy of half a century. When historians begin to assess the Presidency of Bill Clinton, this book will be basic and mandatory reading."
--Michael Beschloss "Fascinating and compelling reading -- this book is at once a serious political science text and a work of high comedy. Strobe Talbott has given us a marvelous window on a rare moment of important and delicate diplomacy between the United States and Russia and, more important, those two most unlikely partners, Bill Clinton and Boris Yeltsin."
--David Halberstam "A unique document, by turns racy, scholarly, personal, and always of our time. We shall not read its like for a long while. An indispensable and generous contribution to contemporary history."
--John Le Carre "Strobe Talbott has written a wonderfully rich and revealing account of the turbulent relationship between the U.S. and Russia during the first post-Cold-War years. Colorful, full of surprises and intimate portraits of the key people involved -- by the man who was at the center of it all -- this book is and will remain essential for any understanding of this critical and even dangerous period."
--Elizabeth Drew "A fascinating portrait of diplomacy as it really works (and sometimes doesn't), written with clarity and grace by a wise man."
--Evan Thomas

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