cover image From Cold War to Hot Peace: An American Ambassador in Putin’s Russia

From Cold War to Hot Peace: An American Ambassador in Putin’s Russia

Michael McFaul. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $30 (496p) ISBN 978-0-544-71624-7

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. [em]Agent: Tina Bennett, WME. (May) [/em]