Roads Not Taken: An Intellectual Biography of William C. Bullitt (Russian and East European Studies)

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A journalist, diplomat, and writer, William Christian Bullitt (1891–1967) negotiated with Lenin and Stalin, Churchill and de Gaulle, Chiang Kai-shek and Goering. He took part in the talks that ended World War I and those that failed to prevent World War II. While his former disciples led American diplomacy into the Cold War, Bullitt became an early enthusiast of the European Union. From his early (1919) proposal of disassembling the former Russian Empire into dozens of independent states, to his much later (1944) advice to land the American troops in the Balkans rather than in Normandy, Bullitt developed a dissenting vision of the major events of his era. A connoisseur of American politics, Russian history, Viennese psychoanalysis, and French wine, Bullitt was also the author of two novels and a number of plays. A friend of Sigmund Freud, Bullitt coauthored with him a sensational biography of President Wilson. A friend of Bullitt, Mikhail Bulgakov depicted him as the devil figure in The Master and Margarita. Taking seriously Bullitt’s projects and foresights, this book portrays him as an original thinker and elucidates his role as a political actor. His roads were not taken, but the world would have been different if Bullitt’s warnings had been heeded. His experience suggests powerful though lost alternatives to the catastrophic history of the twentieth century.
            Based on Bullitt’s unpublished papers and diplomatic documents from the Russian archives, this new biography presents Bullitt as a truly cosmopolitan American, one of the first politicians of the global era. It is human ideas and choices, Bullitt’s projects and failures among them, that have brought the world to its current state.
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ISBN-13: 9780822965039
ISBN-10: 0822965038
Pagini: 264
Ilustrații: 26 b&w illus.
Dimensiuni: 152 x 229 x 20 mm
Greutate: 0.32 kg
Ediția: 1
Editura: University of Pittsburgh Press
Colecția University of Pittsburgh Press
Seria Russian and East European Studies


"An informative biography of diplomat William C. Bullitt, a name not commonly associated with the foundation of the American Cold War policy but should be. . . . Although Bullitt fell out of favor with the Roosevelt administration during World War II, his influence spread to diplomats such as George Kennan and Charles Bohlen, both of whom served under Bullitt in Moscow. This personal narrative will interest scholarly and casual readers ... Highly recommended for those seeking a satisfying biography and those who want a better understanding of American-Russian relations."
—Library Journal (starred review)

“A brilliant portrait of one of the most important American diplomats of the twentieth century. A man of immense charm, a friend and savior of Freud and his family in 1938, an admirer of Russia and witness to the horror of the purges, a figure turned into fiction by Bulgakov, Bullitt comes to life in Etkind’s remarkable book. Essential reading for all students of twentieth-century Europe and the European-American embrace.”
—Jay Winter, Yale University

“Alexander Etkind is among the most fecund and original of cultural historians. Extraordinary lives like William Bullitt’s— deeply involved with Freud, Wilson, Lenin, Stalin, Kennan, and Roosevelt— make extraordinary demands on their biographers. Etkind has more than met these demands in this wonderful volume.”
—Eli Zaretsky, the New School for Social Resarch