K Blows Top

  • by Peter Carlson
  • Narrated by Malcolm Hillgartner
  • 10 hrs and 48 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

Khrushchev's 1959 trip across America was one of the strangest exercises in international diplomacy ever conducted. He told jokes, threw tantrums, sparked a riot in a San Francisco supermarket, wowed coeds in an Iowa home-economics class, and ogled Shirley MacLaine. He befriended and offended a cast of characters including Nelson Rockefeller and Marilyn Monroe.The trip took place in the 50s, 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 with the power to incinerate America.


What the Critics Say

"This hilarious account of Khrushchev's 1959 U.S. tour is also a supremely entertaining evocation of the history and atmosphere of Cold War America." (Publisher's Weekly)


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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

K Steals Show

Hilarious, scary, and insightful! And striking that most people really only remember Khrushchev banging his shoe at the United Nations. His tour of the United States, an accident of a communication omission, was the largest, greatest media event of its time. And thanks to the author's research, including meetings with his son Sergei, Susan Eisenhower along with his initial access to archives of media material which sparked his interest, the story feels very complete, peeking behind the scenes at nearly every point.

A good, clear narration does not overdo the accents, and the author's ability to use metaphors both of his own and the many hilarious ones (often involving comparing whatever event happens to occur to sports) from the media of the time brought a smile to my face many times. But most of all, Mr. K himself steals the show, whose humor, anecdotes, blow-ups, outrageous, emotional, scary, and delightful behavior could, with little alteration elsewhere, engross nearly any reader in rapt attention.

Eisenhower is ever so serious, hardly a humorous character, perhaps more befitting a man who could destroy the world. And if this were going on today, perhaps I would want to see his level head rather than Mr. K's - there's no doubt, in reading this book, that it was a frightening time. Nixon was closest in character to K's in many ways, and how they loathed each other! Georgy Malenkov's embarrassment at K's actions bleeds through wonderfully, and a host of personalities from Marylin Monroe to Roswell Garst, an Iowa corn farmer who alone could truly outmatch Mr. K's attention grabbing make the book so much more in the end, however!
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- Procyonid "I don't often post a wordy review. So when I do, I really felt it was important!"

Fun but not amazing

There's a lot of 5-star reviews here that do a pretty good job of conveying the good parts of the book. I enjoyed it and I recommend it.

That being said, I can't call it a must-read. The story is entertaining but not really laugh-out-loud funny, and not must-know history. If you're looking for a fun, true story, go ahead.
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- D. Martin

Book Details

  • Release Date: 06-02-2009
  • Publisher: Blackstone Audio, Inc.