In This Review

Memoirs of Nikita Khrushchev, Vol. 1: Commissar, 1918-1945
Memoirs of Nikita Khrushchev, Vol. 1: Commissar, 1918-1945
Edited by Sergei N. Khrushchev
Pennsylvania State University Press, 2004, 752 pp

This is the first of what will be a three-volume translation of Khrushchev's massive memoir published in Russian in 1999. It covers the 1930s, including his rather awestruck associations with Stalin, and then in great detail his role during various phases of World War II. 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. (Volume II will deal with domestic policy under his leadership, and Volume III with foreign policy.) The appendices include a fascinating 100-page account by his son, who has spent years assembling and presenting this material, of the saga of the memoirs: how Khrushchev recorded the tapes from 1966 to 1971, how they made their way to the West, and how the regime schemed to discredit them.