The Ambassadors and America's Soviet Policy

The Ambassadors and America's Soviet Policy

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George Kennan, Charles Bohlen, W. Averell Harriman, William Bullitt, Joseph E. Davies, Llewlleyn Thompson, Jack Matlock: these are important names in the history of American foreign policy. Together with a number of lesser-known officials, these diplomats played a vital role in shaping U.S. strategy and popular attitudes toward the Soviet Union throughout its 75-year history. In The Ambassadors and America's Soviet Policy, David Mayers presents the most comprehensive critical examination yet of U.S. diplomats in the Soviet Union. Mayers' vivid portrayal evokes the social and intellectual atmosphere of the American embassy in the midst of crucial episodes: the Bolshevik Revolution, the Great Purges, the Grand Alliance in World War II, the early Cold War, the Cuban Missile Crisis, the rise and decline of detente, and the heady days of perestroika and glasnost. He also offers rare portraits of the professional lives of the diplomats themselves: their adjustment to Soviet life, the quality of their analytical reporting, their contact with other diplomats in Moscow, and their influence on Washington. Assessing the strengths and weaknesses of American diplomacy in its most challenging area, this compelling book fills an important gap in the history of U.S. foreign policy and U.S.-Soviet relations. Readers interested in U.S. foreign policy, the cold war, and the policies and history of the former Soviet Union will find The Ambassadors and America's Soviet Policy an intriguing and informative work.show more

Product details

  • Paperback | 348 pages
  • 152.7 x 228.9 x 24.6mm | 656.9g
  • Oxford University Press Inc
  • New York, United States
  • English
  • Reprint
  • 14 pp halftones
  • 0195115767
  • 9780195115765

Review quote

Mayers has written an interesting account of the American diplomatic experience in the Soviet Union ... the book is well worth reading. It is particularly good on the life and personalities of the embassy at various periods and the frustrations of dealing with both an unresponsive host government and an unresponsive home government. * Europe Asia Studies * This valuable history examines the experiences of American envoys to Russia and the Soviet Union, filling a gap left by standard accounts of US-Russian relations ... Mayers raises a number of valuable questions that are worth exploring more fully ... This highly readable book is an excellent historical study of an oft-ignored element of international diplomacy, and it will be of great interest to both scholars and general readers who wish to learn more about American foreign policy toward Russia and the Soviet Union. * The Historian * "In two earlier works,...David Mayers established himself as a leading scholar of United States-Soviet relations. Marked by careful research (including effective use of interviews and correspondence) and by engaging, persuasive argumentation, [t]his new book further solidifies his standing."-The Journal of American History "Well-written, anecdotal an entertaining,...Mayers provides interesting facts about little-known American envoys to Tsarist Russia."-Foreign Service Journal "As a study of ambassadorial diplomacy, this highly informative, judicious volume analyzes the long, often agonizing relations between two countries that Alexis de Tocqueville once predicted would each control half the world. The volume offers a highly insightful evaluation not only of all the Americans, from John Quincy Adams to Robert Strauss, who represented the United States in St. Petersburg and Moscow, but also of the changing, sometimes bewildering, environment in which they labored. In a fitting conclusion the author evaluates the art of diplomacy as practiced by his ambassadors."-Norman A. Graebner, University of Virginia "David Mayers's enjoyable, stimulating book brings America's Ambassadorial saga in Moscow vividly to life, creating at the same time a significant new dimension in Cold War history."-Fraser J. Harbutt, Emory University "The stringency of its argument and the quality of its documentation, as well as the elegance of its writing, make this an essential book for those interested not only in the history of American-Soviet relations, but in the ongoing dynamics of diplomacy."- Dr. Erik Goldstein, University of Birmingham "In this fascinating study Mayers explores the perspectives and experiences of the various American ambassadors to Moscow and in the process sheds new light not only on the content of America's foreign policy, but also on its implementation."-Wilson D. Miscamble, CSC, University of Notre Dame "This highly original study of the United States Embassy in Moscow in the modern period and the diplomacy of its chiefs-Bullitt, Davies, Harriman, Kennan, Thompson and Matlock-throws new light on the formation and execution of American policy toward the Soviet Union. It also makes a strong case for the importance of ambassadorial diplomacy in an age in which it is too often superseded by foreign ministers, special envoys, and heads of state. An important and very readable book, which is also in part a cautionary tale."-Gordon A. Craig, Stanford University "A superbly written and well-researched history of the men who served as U.S. ambassadors to the Soviet Union. Compelling portraits of Kennan, Charles Bohlen, Averell Harriman, William Bullitt, Thomas Watson Jr., and Jack Matlock fill this volume, helping the reader (perhaps for the first time) really begin to understand the complexities of dealing with the Soviet leadership. This detailed study moves swiftly in the telling and will more than likely be considered the standard work on the subject for years to come. Highly recommended."-Library Journal "Demonstrating excellent command of his subject, Mayers enlivens this bureaucratic history with provocative insights about Cold War lunacies on both sides of the Iron Curtain....Highly recommended."-Choice "Cool, imaginative, and perceptive...takes a neglected topic and gives it purpose and insight."-Christian Science Monitor "Mayers' skill in evoking the travails of the Moscow station and in assessing the advice and impact of U.S. ambassadors, together with his keen sense of the functions of diplomacy, makes for enthralling reading. This is scholarly history at its best: sharp in its judgments but at the same time scrupulously fair and exhaustive."-Foreign Affairs "A work of superb historical analysis that gives carefully researched recognition to the role that American chiefs of mission in Russia and the former Soviet Union played in the furtherance of our foreign policy interests."-American Academy of Diplomacyshow more

About David Mayers

David Mayers holds a joint appointment in the History and Political Science departments of Boston University. He is the author of George Kennan and the Dilemmas of US Foreign Policy (Oxford, 1988), among other books.show more

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