The Folly and the Glory: America, Russia and Political Warfare 1945–2020

Tim Weiner. Holt, $29.99 (352p) ISBN 978-1-627-79085-7
In this colorful and richly detailed account, journalist Weiner (One Man Against the World) charts 75 years of Russia-U.S. antagonisms, beginning at the end of WWII and culminating with present-day Kremlin stratagems to “subvert the United States, undermine its power, [and] poison its political discourse.” Weiner credits American diplomat George F. Kennan with recognizing Joseph Stalin’s imperialistic intentions after WWII, and details Cold War clashes in Cuba, Africa, Eastern Europe, and Afghanistan. Weiner also profiles CIA agent Larry Devlin, who resisted an order to assassinate recently ousted Congolese prime minister Patrice Lumumba with poison toothpaste in 1960, and describes U.S. influence campaigns behind the Iron Curtain, including Voice of America radio broadcasts and support for the pro-democracy Solidarity movement in 1980s Poland. Meanwhile, Weiner writes, Kremlin leaders capitalized on the Iran-contra affair to spread disinformation in the U.S., including rumors that the Pentagon originally developed AIDS as a bioweapon. Motivated by Cold War hard feelings and emboldened by new technologies, Russian leader Vladimir Putin (Stalin’s “true heir,” according to Weiner) “plung[ed] democracy into danger” by helping elect Donald Trump. Weiner briskly relates a treasure trove of declassified material from the Cold War and draws on insider accounts to present a plausible portrait of the current state of affairs. Newshounds and espionage fans will be enthralled. (June)
Reviewed on : 03/31/2020
Release date: 06/02/2020
Genre: Nonfiction
Compact Disc - 978-1-250-75504-9
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