K Blows Top

K Blows Top

A Cold War Comic Interlude Starring Nikita Khrushchev, America's Most Unlikely Tourist

Book - 2009
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Khrushchev's 1959 trip across America was one of the strangest exercises in international diplomacy ever conducted--"a surreal extravaganza," as historian John Lewis Gaddis called it. Khrushchev told jokes, threw tantrums, sparked a riot in a San Francisco supermarket, wowed the coeds in a home economics class in Iowa, and ogled Shirley MacLaine as she filmed a dance scene in Can-Can. He befriended and offended a cast of characters including Nelson Rockefeller, RichardNixon, Eleanor Roosevelt, Elizabeth Taylor, and Marilyn Monroe.Published for the fiftieth anniversary of the trip, 'K Blows Top' is a work of history that reads like a Vonnegut novel. This cantankerous communist's road trip took place against the backdrop of the fifties in capitalist America, with the shadow of the hydrogen bomb hanging over his visit like the Sword of Damocles. As Khrushchev kept reminding people, he was a hot-tempered man who possessed the power to incinerate America.
Publisher: New York : PublicAffairs, c2009.
Edition: 1st ed.
ISBN: 9781586484972
Characteristics: 327 p. ; 25 cm.


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Oct 07, 2019

Nikita Khrushchev was the man who led the Soviet Union out from the oppressive shadow of Joseph Stalin, and into the brief glow of newfound prosperity as the planned economy seemed to finally be clicking into gear. He had survived numerous Stalinist purges, the Great Patriotic War, and the generally poor living conditions of his homeland. The thing that caused this world leader to utterly melt down? Being refused admittance to Disneyland. Read about this and a host of other ironic incidents as Khrushchev toured 1959 America.

Mark H Lampe
Jul 02, 2019

Read a review of this book in the Wall Street Journal and it sounds interesting. Plus this happend while I was growing up and learning how to get under my desk in the event of a nuclear strike. :)

Jan 18, 2015

Highly entertaining. Gives the reader a very personal view of Khrushchev - much different than the one-dimensional view generally promulgated then and since. How can leaders (and others) visiting each other's countries be a bad thing?!


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