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The Kremlinologist

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

Jenny Thompson and Sherry Thompson

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An Owl in a Hawk’s World: Top diplomat Llewellyn E Thompson was everywhere the Cold War was.

Winner of the New Mexico/Arizona Book Award for Best Biography

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…

An Owl in a Hawk’s World: Top diplomat Llewellyn E Thompson was everywhere the Cold War was.

Winner of the New Mexico/Arizona Book Award for Best Biography

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 StatesRussia relationship that still exists today.

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The Kremlinologist

Jenny Thompson and Sherry Thompson

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Reviews

Reviews

The Kremlinologist is part biography, part Cold War history, and a fitting tribute by his daughters to a consequential American diplomat.

Thompson’s is an archetypal American story that took him from the wilds of the American West at the beginning of the 20th century to inside the halls of the White House and behind the walls of the Kremlin... Thompson’s story also confirms the power of personal diplomacy, patience and cultivation of deep understanding of and empathy for the other.

Neither Jenny nor Sherry Thompson, his daughters, is a professional historian, but they have closely researched official records and secondary sources and interviewed experts and eyewitnesses, and they draw on personal anecdotes that illuminate the family life of this formidable diplomat. The result is a readable portrait of a man whose behind-the-scenes role in major events is easy to overlook.

Llewellyn Thompson served eight U.S. presidents as a diplomat, including two stints as U.S. ambassador to the Soviet Union. This rigorously documented book by his two daughters recounts his four decades as a Foreign Service officer... a valuable addition to the history of the first half of the Cold War, as well as a compelling biography of their father.

Ambassador Thompson would have been proud of the skill, thoroughness and evenhandedness with which his daughters compiled this biography.

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About

Book Details

Publication Date
Status
Available
Trim Size
7
x
10
Pages
600
ISBN
9781421424545
Illustration Description
48 b&w photos
Table of Contents

Acknowledgments
Introduction
Part I
1. The Beginning
2. Into the World
3. To Moscow
4. The Siege of Moscow
5. The Germans in Retreat
6. Conferences
7. The Hot War Ends and the Cold War Begins
8. The Truman

Acknowledgments
Introduction
Part I
1. The Beginning
2. Into the World
3. To Moscow
4. The Siege of Moscow
5. The Germans in Retreat
6. Conferences
7. The Hot War Ends and the Cold War Begins
8. The Truman Doctrine
9. The Birth of Covert Operations
10. Overseas Again
Part II
11. Chief of Mission
12. The Trieste Negotiations
13. The Austrian State Treaty Negotiations
14. Open Skies, Closed Borders
Part III
15. Khrushchev's Decade (1953–1964)
16. Moscow 2
17. Khrushchev's First Gamble: Berlin Poker
18. Dueling Exhibitions
19. The Russian Is Coming
20. U-2: The End of Détente
21. Picking Up the Pieces
22. Working for the New President
23. Meeting in Vienna
24. The Twenty-Second Congress of the Communist Party
25. Up the Down Escalator
26. Goodbye Moscow, Hello Washington
27. Thirteen Days in October
28. Limited Test Ban
Part IV
29. The Lyndon Johnson Years
30. Strand One
31. Thompson's Vietnam
32. Strand Two
33. Strand Three
34. Moscow 3
35. The Six-Day War
36. Glassboro
37. 1968
38. "Retirement," So to Speak
Notes
Bibliography
Index

Author Bios
Featured Contributor

Sherry Thompson

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.