The Pennsylvania State University
Cover for the book Memoirs of Nikita Khrushchev

Memoirs of Nikita Khrushchev

Volume 1: Commissar, 1918–1945 Edited by Sergei Khrushchev
  • Copyright: 2004
  • Dimensions: 6.125 x 9.25
  • Page Count: 1004 pages
  • Illustrations: 57 b&w illustrations/
  • Hardcover ISBN: 978-0-271-02332-8
  • Paperback ISBN: 978-0-271-05853-5
  • Co-publisher: Thomas J. Watson Jr. Institute, Brown University
“Nikita Khrushchev was one of the most important political leaders of the twentieth century. Without his memoirs, neither the rise and fall of the Soviet Union nor the history of the Cold War can be fully understood. By dictating his memoirs and publishing them in the West, Khrushchev transformed himself from the USSR’s leader to one of its first dissidents. His remarkably candid recollections were a harbinger of glasnost to come. Like virtually all memoirs, his have a personal and political agenda, but even what might be called Khrushchev’s ‘myth of himself’ is vital for understanding how this colorful figure could place his contradictory stamp on his country and the world. The fact that the full text of Khrushchev’s memoirs will now be available in English is cause for rejoicing.”
“One of the most extraordinary archives of the twentieth century”
“Khrushchev had a remarkable memory, and although the style and broad outline of what he has to say will be familiar to those who read the original two-volume English version issued in the early 1970s, the detail he provides here, particularly on the war, adds a great deal.”
“But his personal slant, conveyed in the World War II memoirs that make up half of this huge book, is important for understanding the political atmosphere during that colossal struggle. And the detail of his recall, without notes or references, is extraordinary.”
“Sergei Khrushchev (Thomas J. Watson Jr. Institute, Brown Univ.) has edited an exquisitely detailed, amply documented, remarkably translated first volume of a proposed three-volume translation of his father’s memoirs, based on the four-volume Russian edition of 1999.”
“There is a lot less high politics here than one would expect. Khrushchev’s focus is very often on chance encounters and small vignettes, often told at great length, rather than on reflections on the ‘big picture’ or revelations about key historical events. Yet it is this above all else that makes this work so readable, for it allows Khrushchev’s personality to come through in the text in all its contradictions and complexity.”
“This volume far exceeds in detail earlier editions of the Khrushchev memoirs and for readers of this journal especially, his observations of the war years are intriguing.”

Nikita Khrushchev’s proclamation from the floor of the United Nations that "we will bury you" is one of the most chilling and memorable moments in the history of the Cold War, but from the Cuban Missile Crisis to his criticism of the Soviet ruling structure late in his career the motivation for Khrushchev’s actions wasn’t always clear. Many Americans regarded him as a monster, while in the USSR he was viewed at various times as either hero or traitor. But what was he really like, and what did he really think? Readers of Khrushchev’s memoirs will now be able to answer these questions for themselves (and will discover that what Khrushchev really said at the UN was "we will bury colonialism").

This is the first volume of three in the only complete and fully reliable version of the memoirs available in English. In this volume, Khrushchev recounts how he became politically active as a young worker in Ukraine, how he climbed the ladder of power under Stalin to occupy leading positions in Ukraine and then Moscow, and how as a military commissar he experienced the war against the Nazi invaders. He vividly portrays life in Stalin's inner circle and among the generals who commanded the Soviet armies.

Khrushchev’s sincere reflections upon his own thoughts and feelings add to the value of this unique personal and historical document. Included among the Appendixes is Sergei Khrushchev’s account of how the memoirs were created and smuggled abroad during his father’s retirement.

Nikita Sergeyevich Khrushchev (1894-1971) was First Secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union from 1953 to 1964 and Chairman of the USSR Council of Ministers from 1958 to 1964.

Sergei Khrushchev is Senior Fellow at the Thomas J. Watson Jr. Institute for International Studies at Brown University. He is the author of Nikita Khrushchev and the Creation of a Superpower (Penn State, 2000).


Captions to Photographs

Translators Preface

Editors Foreword

Andrei Bitov. The Baldest and the Boldest

Abbreviations and Acronyms

The Memoirs


Part I. The Beginning of the Road

A Little About Myself

The Fourteenth Party Conference

A Few Words About the NEP

The Fifteenth Party Congress

The Move to Kharkov

The Move to Kiev

At the Industrial Academy

Personal Acquaintance with Stalin

Moscow Workdays

The Kirov Assassination

Some Consequences of the Kirov Assassination

In the Ukraine Again

The Ukraine-Moscow (Crossroads of the 1930s)

The Second World War Approaches

The Beginning of the Second World War

Events on the Eve of War

Part II. The Great Patriotic War

The Difficult Summer of 1941

People and Events of Summer and Fall 1941

1942: From Winter to Summer

By the Ruins of Stalingrad

Turn of the Tide at Stalingrad

The Road to Rostov

Before the Battle of Kursk and at Its Beginning

To the Dnieper!

Kiev Is Ours Again!

We Liberate the Ukraine

Forward to Victory!

Postwar Reflections

The Far East After the Great Patriotic War

War Memoirs


A Short Biography of N. S. Khrushchev

L. Lasochko. The Khrushchev Family Line: A Historical Note

Sergei Khrushchev. The History of the Creation and Publication of the Khrushchev

Memoirs (1967-1999)

Conversation with N. S. Khrushchev at the Party Control Committee



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Also of Interest

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Memoirs of Nikita Khrushchev

Volume 3: Statesman, 1953–1964
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