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The Kremlinologist

Paperback
, 608 pages

48 b&w photos

ISBN:
9781421424545
March 2018
Subject:
History
$39.95

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The Kremlinologist

Llewellyn E Thompson, America's Man in Cold War Moscow

Against the sprawling backdrop of the Cold War, The Kremlinologist revisits some of the twentieth century's greatest conflicts as seen through the eyes of its hardest working diplomat, Llewellyn E Thompson. From the wilds of the American West to the inner sanctums of the White House and the Kremlin, Thompson became an important advisor to presidents and a key participant in major global events, including the Cuban Missile Crisis and the Vietnam War. Yet unlike his contemporaries Robert S. McNamara and Dean Rusk, who considered Thompson one of the most crucial Cold War actors and the "unsung hero" of the Cuban Missile Crisis, he has not been the subject of a major biography—until now.

Thompson’s daughters Jenny and Sherry Thompson skillfully and thoroughly document his life as an accomplished career diplomat. In vigorous prose, they describe how Thompson joined the Foreign Service both to feed his desire for adventure and from a deep sense of duty. They also detail the crucial role he played as a negotiator unafraid of compromise. Known in the State Department as "Mr. Tightlips," Thompson was the epitome of discretion. People from completely opposite ends of the political spectrum lauded his approach to diplomacy and claimed him as their own.

Refuting historical misinterpretations of the Berlin Crisis, the Austrian State Treaty, and the Cuban Missile Crisis, the Thompsons tell their father’s fascinating story. With unprecedented access to Thompson’s FBI dossier, State Department personnel files, letters, diaries, speeches, and documents, and relying on probing interviews and generous assistance from American and Russian archivists, historians, and government officials, the authors bring new material to light, including important information on the U-2, Kennan’s containment policy, and Thompson’s role in US covert operations machinery.

This unique and monumental biography not only restores a central figure to history, it makes the crucial events he shaped accessible to a broader readership and gives contemporary readers a backdrop for understanding the fraught United States−Russia relationship that still exists today.

Jenny Thompson runs an English-language school in Estepona, Spain. Before she retired, Sherry Thompson was the director of a nonprofit foundation. The authors, daughters of Llewellyn E Thompson, spent eight years of their childhood in Moscow.

"By telling the detailed personal story of Ambassador Llewellyn E Thompson, the most brilliant American master of negotiation and compromise, The Kremlinologist will help diplomats deal successfully with future crises. Highly recommended."

"A wonderful achievement; with every page, my appreciation grew. The authors succeed in commemorating the role of their father, Llewellyn Thompson, an unsung hero of the Cold War, while going beyond a simplistic portrayal of American motives and decision making in the longest confrontation of the twentieth century. Meticulously researched and infused with empathy for both sides, The Kremlinologist is a valuable contribution to Cold War scholarship."

"A remarkable, insightful picture of Ambassador Llewellyn Thompson as a person and of his role in the conduct of American diplomacy. Well researched and beautifully written, The Kremlinologist will be fascinating reading for anyone interested in foreign policy, the work of diplomats, and the history of the Cold War."

"Combining a charming family memoir with meticulous diplomatic history, Ambassador Llewellyn Thompson’s daughters’ wonderful account illuminates everything from their adventures growing up in the Moscow embassy, to Stalin’s and Khrushchev’s relations with presidents from Roosevelt to Johnson, to the Cold War’s main crises in Berlin, Cuba, and Vietnam."

"Thoroughly researched and beautifully written, The Kremlinologist is an analytically piercing biography of America’s longest serving and most influential Soviet expert, Ambassador Llewellyn E Thompson. Both an intimate portrait and an insider’s account of life in Moscow during the Cold War, it reveals new and fascinating details about the many US–Soviet crises that Thompson helped to resolve during the Eisenhower, Kennedy, and Johnson administrations."

"In The Kremlinologist, Jenny and Sherry Thompson's masterful biography of the legendary Ambassador Llwellyn Thompson, his daughters resurrect a bygone—and sorely missed—era of American diplomacy. Exercising archival and anthropological diligence, no archive has gone unvisited, no eyewitness has not been interviewed. This book will find its deserved place as an exemplary addition to the history of twentieth-century American diplomacy."

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