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  • From Washington to Moscow: US-Soviet Relations and the Collapse of the USSR

    Author(s):
    Pages: 416
    Sales/Territorial Rights: World
  • Cloth: $99.95 - Not In Stock
    978-0-8223-6179-4
  • Paperback: $27.95 - In Stock
    978-0-8223-6195-4
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  • Prologue. Two Treaties, Two Eras  1

    1. First Visit to the USSR: Things Are Not as They Seem  5

    2. Leonid Brezhnev: Power and Stagnation  9

    3. Repression and Resistance  22

    4. The Nixon Years  41

    5. A Tale of Two Cities: Vladivostok and Helsinki  63

    6. The Unhappy Presidency of Jimmy Carter  76

    7. Two Crises and an Olympiad  96

    8. Interregnum: Andropov in Power  114

    9. Ronald Reagan's First Administration  128

    10. Eagle vs. Bear: US and Soviet Approaches to Strategic Arms Control  145

    11. Mikhail Gorbachev  165

    12. Gorbachev Ascendant  184

    13. New Kid on the Block: Gorbachev Emerges in US-Soviet Relations  196

    14. "I Guess I Should Say Michael": The Turn in US-Soviet Relations  213

    15. 1989: Year of Miracles or Time of Troubles?  242

    16. Stumbling toward Collapse: Gorbachev's Final Eighteen Months  270

    17. The August Coup  294

    18. Red Star Falling  312

    19. Why Did the USSR Collapse?  322

    Postscript  339

    Notes  351

    Bibliography  383

    Index  399
     
  • "Sell uses his person[al] experience and copious primary source material to tell the story of the US and the USSR in a very readable form."

    "A masterfully written book, From Washington to Moscow offers a comprehensive, magnificent, and primarily chronological narrative of the USSR—the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics—under the leadership of its General Secretaries—Leonid Brezhnev, Yuri Andropov, Konstantin Chernenko, and Mikhail Gorbachev—up to its stupendous collapse, and the ascent of Boris Yeltsin, the First President of the Russian Federation."

    "[A] rich and readable history.... A rare and intimate look at Gorbachev and the events leading up to his presidency...."

    "Books on the era abound, but Sell’s account helps remind us what really happened, and in some cases fills in some important gaps. His book combines meticulous use of archival and other sources with telling personal reminiscences and nuanced observations. A particular strength is his grasp of the personalities involved."

    "Sell is obviously a talented writer who is able to simplify complicated issues without removing their important subtleties. He also breaks down Cold War arms negotiations to a point where any reader can clearly understand which games each side was playing and who really won or lost despite the final number of missiles. The fact that he was present at many of the negotiations lends a sense of clarity to his writing that is rarely seen on this issue."
     

    "Methodologically rigorous and qualitative, Sell deploys thorough archival research aided by personal observation, which makes the book a fluid and enjoyable, but serious, read. It is also a welcome departure from contemporary political scholarship, which tends to be mostly quantitative in nature and is often devoid of the historical ‘long views.’"
     

    "[A] modest and sensible account of the collapse of the Soviet Union and its aftermath. . . ."

    "[T]his is a story that is extremely vivid, lively in its detail and persuasive in its assessments, that engagingly recreates what is now a bygone era for many readers and so a world they have difficulty imagining through dry, academic analysis." 

    "Sell’s book provides an important overview of the Cold War for those who missed it (the current generation), for those who forgot it (most of the rest), and for a new administration of State Department and other government officials (who may be living in one)."

    Reviews

  • "Sell uses his person[al] experience and copious primary source material to tell the story of the US and the USSR in a very readable form."

    "A masterfully written book, From Washington to Moscow offers a comprehensive, magnificent, and primarily chronological narrative of the USSR—the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics—under the leadership of its General Secretaries—Leonid Brezhnev, Yuri Andropov, Konstantin Chernenko, and Mikhail Gorbachev—up to its stupendous collapse, and the ascent of Boris Yeltsin, the First President of the Russian Federation."

    "[A] rich and readable history.... A rare and intimate look at Gorbachev and the events leading up to his presidency...."

    "Books on the era abound, but Sell’s account helps remind us what really happened, and in some cases fills in some important gaps. His book combines meticulous use of archival and other sources with telling personal reminiscences and nuanced observations. A particular strength is his grasp of the personalities involved."

    "Sell is obviously a talented writer who is able to simplify complicated issues without removing their important subtleties. He also breaks down Cold War arms negotiations to a point where any reader can clearly understand which games each side was playing and who really won or lost despite the final number of missiles. The fact that he was present at many of the negotiations lends a sense of clarity to his writing that is rarely seen on this issue."
     

    "Methodologically rigorous and qualitative, Sell deploys thorough archival research aided by personal observation, which makes the book a fluid and enjoyable, but serious, read. It is also a welcome departure from contemporary political scholarship, which tends to be mostly quantitative in nature and is often devoid of the historical ‘long views.’"
     

    "[A] modest and sensible account of the collapse of the Soviet Union and its aftermath. . . ."

    "[T]his is a story that is extremely vivid, lively in its detail and persuasive in its assessments, that engagingly recreates what is now a bygone era for many readers and so a world they have difficulty imagining through dry, academic analysis." 

    "Sell’s book provides an important overview of the Cold War for those who missed it (the current generation), for those who forgot it (most of the rest), and for a new administration of State Department and other government officials (who may be living in one)."

  • "This memoir is a fascinating account of the final two decades of Soviet politics and a convincing analysis of the role of US-Soviet relations in the disintegration of the USSR in late 1991. Louis Sell’s book is a wonderful guide for readers who remember the Soviet Union and want a better understanding of why it collapsed, but it is at least as valuable for today’s undergraduates and graduate students, who have no direct memory of the USSR and need to learn about it from those who witnessed it firsthand." — Mark Kramer, Director, Cold War Studies, Harvard University

    "The breakup of the USSR in 1991 changed the political map of the world. Misunderstanding what happened then has exacerbated many of the problems facing the United States today. Louis Sell’s From Washington to Moscow takes us back to those turbulent days when Russia cast off most of its empire and gives us a corrective, insider’s view of worldchanging events. This is an important book, an exciting read that is also destined to be an important source for historians of the period."  — Jack Matlock, former US Ambassador to the Soviet Union

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  • Description

    When the United States and the Soviet Union signed the first Strategic Arms Limitation Talks accords in 1972 it was generally seen as the point at which the USSR achieved parity with the United States. Less than twenty years later the Soviet Union had collapsed, confounding experts who never expected it to happen during their lifetimes. In From Washington to Moscow veteran US Foreign Service officer Louis Sell traces the history of US–Soviet relations between 1972 and 1991 and explains why the Cold War came to an abrupt end. Drawing heavily on archival sources and memoirs—many in Russian—as well as his own experiences, Sell vividly describes events from the perspectives of American and Soviet participants. He attributes the USSR's fall not to one specific cause but to a combination of the Soviet system's inherent weaknesses, mistakes by Mikhail Gorbachev, and challenges by Ronald Reagan and other US leaders. He shows how the USSR's rapid and humiliating collapse and the inability of the West and Russia to find a way to cooperate respectfully and collegially helped set the foundation for Vladimir Putin’s rise.
     

    About The Author(s)

    Louis Sell is a retired Foreign Service officer who served twentyseven years with the US Department of State, specializing in Soviet and Balkan affairs. He is the author of Slobodan Milosevic and the Destruction of Yugoslavia, also published by Duke University Press.
     
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