A revelatory, behind-the-scenes account of Russian-American relations, from a former US ambassador and 'Obama's top White House advisor on Russia policy' (The New York Times)
In 2008, when Michael McFaul was asked to leave his perch at Stanford and join President-elect Barack Obama's national security team, he had no idea that he would find himself at the beating heart of one of today's most contentious international relationships. McFaul had been studying and visiting Russia for decades, becoming one of America's preeminent scholars on the country during the first Putin era.
During President Obama's first term, McFaul helped craft the policy known as "Reset," which fostered unprecedented collaboration between the two countries under Dmitry Medvedev's presidency. Later, as U.S. ambassador from 2012 to 2014, he witnessed firsthand how Vladimir Putin's new rise interrupted this era of cooperation and returned Russian-American relations to a level of hostility not known since the darkest days of the Cold War. From the outset of his ambassadorship, the Kremlin accused McFaul of being sent by Obama to foment revolution against Putin's regime.
This resulting insider's account - uniquely combining history, politics and intimate personal knowledge of the corridors of power - takes us from Putin's dacha to ornate Kremlin chambers and the Oval Office, to explain how Russia really works, and why the world has entered a dangerous new era of confrontation.
MICHAEL MCFAUL is professor of political science, director and senior fellow at the Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies at Stanford University, and a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution. He served for five years in the Obama administration, first at the White House as special assistant to the president and senior director for Russian and Eurasian affairs at the National Security Council, then as U.S. ambassador to the Russian Federation. Also an analyst for NBC News and a contributing columnist to the Washington Post, he is the author of several books, including Russia's Unfinished Revolution: Political Change from Gorbachev to Putin. McFaul was born and raised in Montana. He received his B.A. in international relations and Slavic languages and his M.A. in Soviet and East European studies from Stanford University, then completed his D. Phil. in international relations at Oxford University as a Rhodes Scholar