Award-winning Khrushchev biographer to speak in Madison

DATE: August 21, 2007
CONTACT: Jennifer Tishler, Associate Director, Center for Russia, East Europe, and Central Asia (CREECA), 608-262-3379,

Madison, WI ­– William Taubman, Bertrand Snell Professor of Political Science at Amherst College, will deliver a talk, “Nikita Khrushchev: The Man and His Era,” in Madison on September 6. (4:00 – 5:15 pm, 325 Pyle Center, 702 Langdon Street).

Remembered by many as the Soviet leader who brandished his shoe at the United Nations, Khrushchev was in fact one of the most complex, colorful and important political figures of the twentieth century. Although complicit in Stalinist crimes, he attempted to de-Stalinize the USSR. His daring attempt to reform communism prepared the way for its eventual collapse. His awkward efforts to ease the cold war triggered its most dangerous crises in Berlin and Cuba.

Professor Taubman, winner of the 2004 Pulitzer Prize and the 2004 National Book Critics Award for his biography, Khrushchev: The Man and His Era, will analyze the Soviet leader’s personality, and show how it helps to explain his role in unmasking Stalin, and in sparking the Berlin and Cuban crises.

William Taubman’s appearance is made possible by the Hilldale Lecture Series, and is supported by the Center for Russia, East Europe, and Central Asia, a program in the Division of International Studies’ International Institute.

Taubman is also the author of: The View from Lenin Hills: Soviet Youth in Ferment (1967), Governing Soviet Cities (1973), and Stalin’s American Policy (1982); co-author (with his wife, Jane Taubman, Amherst Russian professor, Radcliffe ‘64) of Moscow Spring (1989); editor-translator of Khrushchev on Khrushchev by Sergei N. Khrushchev (1990); and co-editor (with Sergei Khrushchev and Abbott Gleason) of Nikita Khrushchev (2000). In addition to scholarly articles and reviews, he has written op-ed pieces and book reviews for The New York Times, The Boston Globe, The Chicago Tribune, The Atlanta Constitution, The Los Angeles Times, and The Washington Post. He has appeared on “The Today Show,” “The MacNeil/Lehrer Report,” C-Span’s “Booknotes” and “Washington Journal,” and NPR’s “All Things Considered,” “Morning Edition,” and “Fresh Air.” He is currently at work on a biography of Mikhail Gorbachev.