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JUNIUS AND ALBERT'S ADVENTURES
K BLOWS TOP
A Cold War Comic Interlude, Starring Nikita Khrushchev, America’s Most Unlikely Tourist
K Blows Top is the hilarious true story of a stranger in a strange land.
The stranger was Nikita Khrushchev, the fat-bellied, thin-skinned funny, cranky premier of the Soviet Union. The strange land was America in the fifties, a world of tail fins, movie stars, missile silos, and duck-and-cover drills. Khrushchev’s bizarre 1959 trip across America was, as historian John Lewis Gaddis called it, “a surreal extravaganza.”
For two weeks at the height of the cold War, Khrushchev traveled from coast to coast, scaring some Americans and amusing others. “K”—as the headline writers called him—shadowboxed with Nelson Rockefeller, insulted Richard Nixon, irked Ike, impressed Elizabeth Taylor, grossed out Marilyn Monroe, and ogled Shirley MacLaine as she filmed a dance scene in Can-Can. He also told jokes, threatened atomic war, shocked the United Nations, sparked a riot in a San Francisco supermarket, wowed the coeds in an Iowa home economics class, and blew the minds of the journalists who chronicled his every move.
“It was like the happy hour in a manic depressive ward,” wrote one reporter.
In this delightful romp through Cold War America, Peter Carlson recreates a darkly comic history that reads like a Vonnegut novel.
Praise for K BLOWS TOP
A novelist couldn’t have invented a wackier Cold War interlude. --Newsweek
Could be the most entertaining book of the year. --The London Review of Books
Carlson spirits us along shoe-banging Commie Nikita Khrushchev’s 1959 trans-America joyride. --Vanity Fair
One of the most outlandish episodes in the annals of Cold War history. A deft and amusing writer, Carlson does a marvelous job of recounting it. --The Washington Post
Khrushy’s boozy, mercurial meanderings through New York, Hollywood, and the Iowa State Fair are jaw-dropping..the books is also a portrait of a more naïve, optimistic nation in the heat of the nuclear age. ---The Boston Globe
A laugh-out-loud history lesson about one of the most dangerous periods of the 20th century. --Parade Magazine
The Life and Times of Big Bill Haywood
A cowboy, prospector and silver miner, Big Bill Haywood became the most famous—and the most feared—labor leader in America. Denounced by Theodore Roosevelt as an “undesirable citizen,” he was hailed as a savior by strikers from Cripple Creek Colorado to Lawrence, Massachusetts.
Novelists from John Dos Passos to E.L. Doctorow have turned Big Bill Haywood into a fictional character, and actor-director Warren Beatty depicted him, somewhat inaccurately, in his epic movie Reds. With Roughneck, we have the life behind the legend. Ranging from the boomtowns of the Wild West to a grave in the Kremlin wall, it’s a biography that reads like an adventure story.
Praise for ROUGHNECK
Carlson’s book has the dash and drive of its hero. [Haywood] was a rebel cut from the same cloth as Buffalo Bill and his saga has the flavor of a modern myth. --Newsweek
An affectionate and lively portrait of the most compelling figure in American labor history: the one-eyed, two-fisted, hard-drinking Haywood, the self-educated son of a Pony Express rider whose love for the common man led him to confound plutocrats and presidents alike. The author has delved deep into primary sources all over the country and has captured the spirit of an extraordinarily vivid historical figure. --Philadelphia Inquirer
Roughneck is a wonderful recapturing of the life of the amazing Big Bill Haywood. The huge, one-eyed Haywood is at the center of the story and around him are some of the most extraordinary figures in American history…The book instructs and inspires as it gives us a part of our past we are not told about in our schools and colleges. --Howard Zinn, author of A People’s History of the United States