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The Russia Hand: A Memoir of Presidential Diplomacy

3.71  ·  Rating details ·  123 ratings  ·  11 reviews
During the past ten years, few issues have mattered more to Americas vital interests or to the shape of the twenty-first century than Russias fate. To cheer the fall of a bankrupt totalitarian regime is one thing; to build on its ruins a stable democratic state is quite another. The challenge of helping to steer post-Soviet Russia-with its thousands of nuclear weapons and ...more
Paperback, 512 pages
Published May 13th 2003 by Random House Trade Paperbacks (first published 2002)
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Sarah
Nov 03, 2013 rated it liked it
The insider account of the Clinton administration's diplomatic relationship to Russia is fascinating, but good Lord does Mr. Talbott have a high opinion of himself and Christ, does he love to name drop. The first fifty pages are all about him hanging out with a young Clinton (he loves good ol' Bill, they're bestest bestest buddies and good ol' Billy can do no wrong, no wrong at all, gosh he's so brilliant and perfect and also right about everything all the time...), chatting it up with George ...more
Chet Herbert
Nov 29, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A tumultuous stroll through the geopolitical memory lane of most of my high school and college undergrad years guided by Strobe Talbott, translator-editor of Nikita Khrushchev's memoirs and (F.O.B.--friend of Bill) Clinton's go-to State Dept man for Russian trouble-shooting.

Any idiot can face a crisis; it is this day-to-day living that wears you out--Anton Chekhov

History is the total of things that could have been avoided--Konrad Adenaur

Clinton on cold war policymakers: "He admired Franklin
...more
Phil
Dec 05, 2007 rated it did not like it
Recommends it for: enemies
I'm only reviewing this book so that I can have something with one star to prove that my rating system is not inflated. It also has a bright red spine, so it stood out on the bookshelf as I was looking for books to review.

Strobe Talbott has a very high opinion of himself, which is largely unwarranted. It appears that he has fairly significant substantive understanding of Russia, but no perspective or analytical judgment. He credits the warmth of Russo-American relations in the mid-1990s to the
...more
Gordon Kwok
Feb 21, 2020 rated it it was amazing
A short enjoyable book about the achievements by President Clinton and Russian president Yeltsin. I've always thought that President Clinton did not get enough credit (at least here) for his achievements on the international stage and the respect that other other leaders had for him. President Clinton was able to work on a number of important issues with Russia's president including NATO enlargement, removal of Soviet troops from the Baltic nations and removing nuclear weapons from Ukraine.

One
...more
Joe Wisniewski
Feb 24, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I understand that book is or was going to be released in Russia/Europe as "Boris and Bill". Frankly that might have been a more appropriate title overall. :-)

I would be interested in hearing S. Talbot's response to recent allegations/observations that while not disclosing anything of a secure nature, Talbott's close personal diplomatic ties with the Russians were exploited during the Kosovo crisis to get info on the planning/approach of the administration in dealing with a potential powderkey
...more
Adam
Mar 14, 2012 rated it liked it
Honestly, I didn't finish this book. Actually, I heavily skimmed this book. But after a chapter or two of careful reading you get the idea of the entire book (granted I guess I can't say that with any legitimacy of knowing). It's very in depth and definitely shows the personalities of Clinton and Yeltsin, which is really interesting. But the whole book is basically how the two of them worked together through various problems through the years at the helm to make Russia something functioning. ...more
A.J. Bryant
Aug 24, 2007 rated it liked it
Shelves: goodstuff
Go behind the scenes to some of the most influential decisions in the history of US-Russian relations. A rare first hand look at political brokering, back office negotiating and some hilarious stories.
Karamagi
Jan 08, 2008 rated it it was amazing
A must read!...Strobe Talbot takes you inside the infancy of Bill Clinton's White House in 1992, and how they struggled to become foreign policy masters, especially with regards to Russia. You will be amazed to learn how Russia's current leaders came into their positions.
Johnna Horton
Dec 29, 2010 rated it really liked it
I love reading behind-the-scenes accounts of historical events. It's the voyeur in me, probably. This is an interesting look at Clinton's relationship with Yeltsin and how the Russian need to constantly "save face" plays out at the highest level.
Carrie
Jun 06, 2009 rated it liked it
I enjoyed getting a policy maker's inside prespective of the U.S.'s Cold War Diplomacy
Mayrendy
Jul 29, 2012 rated it it was amazing
I don't know much about foreign policy between USA and Russia, but after reading this book, I wanted to find out more. It was an easy read.
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