NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER
From the diplomat Putin wants to interrogate—and has banned from Russia—a revelatory, inside account of U.S.-Russia relations from 1989 to the present
“A fascinating and timely account of the current crisis in the relationship between Russia and the United States.” —New York Times Book Review
Putin would need an enemy, and he turned to the most reliable one in Russia’s recent history: the United States and then, by extension, me.
In 2008, when Michael McFaul was asked to leave his perch at Stanford and join an unlikely presidential campaign, he had no idea that he would find himself at the beating heart of one of today’s most contentious and consequential international relationships. As President Barack Obama’s adviser on Russian affairs, McFaul helped craft the United States’ policy known as “reset” that fostered new and unprecedented collaboration between the two countries. And then, as U.S. ambassador to Russia from 2012 to 2014, he had a front-row seat when this fleeting, hopeful moment crumbled with Vladimir Putin’s return to the presidency. This riveting inside account combines history and memoir to tell the full story of U.S.-Russia relations from the fall of the Soviet Union to the new rise of the hostile, paranoid Russian president. From the first days of McFaul’s ambassadorship, the Kremlin actively sought to discredit and undermine him, hassling him with tactics that included dispatching protesters to his front gates, slandering him on state media, and tightly surveilling him, his staff, and his family.
From Cold War to Hot Peace is an essential account of the most consequential global confrontation of our time.
Stanford political science professor McFaul, who was posted to Moscow as U.S. ambassador from 2012 to 2014, provides useful insights into the changing relationship between America and Russia in this smart, personable mix of memoir and political analysis. McFaul first traveled to the then Soviet Union in 1983 as an undergraduate, and his resulting longtime interest in Russia turned to active engagement in 2007, when he was asked to advise the Obama campaign, a role that morphed into a position as special assistant to the president and senior director for Russian affairs. His tenure in the White House and then in Moscow coincided with increased tensions with the Putin regime, which ultimately accused the U.S. of interference in its elections and declared McFaul persona non grata, despite his energetic outreach to the Russian people, which included unprecedented interactions for an American on social media. McFaul does not believe Putinism as it exists today was inevitable, pointing to George W. Bush's decision to invade Iraq as a "devastating blow to bilateral relations" that might otherwise have continued their post-9/11 progress. The author's privileged perspective as both an academic and policy maker makes this an essential volume for those trying to understand one of the U.S.'s most significant current rivals.