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Peter Carlson, K BLOWS TOP: A COLD WAR COMIC INTERLUDE author: Mr. Media Radio Interview

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K Blows Top author Peter Carlson takes Mr. Media back to the good ol’ days of Khrushchev, Kennedy and soft-shoe diplomacy!

Nikita Khrushchev’s 1959 tour of the United States more closely resembled a traveling circus than an exercise in international diplomacy.

From New York to San Francisco, he cracked corny jokes, threw tantrums, got stuck in an elevator, and was handed a live turkey by the secretary of agriculture. He found himself in a home economics class in Iowa; he went to a supermarket and a riot broke out; and he was greeted upon his arrival to Hollywood by dancing girls. There is no other way than comically to tell the visit of Khrushchev to the U.S. It is a true fish out of water story—a strange man in a strange land.

Published for the 50th anniversary of this trip, K Blows Top: A Cold War Comic Interlude, Starring Nikita Khrushchev, America’s Most Unlikely Tourist (June 2009, PublicAffairs) humorously chronicles the bizarre stops of the Soviet leader through New York, DC, Pittsburgh, Iowa, and California at the height of the Cold War.

Khrushchev is a wonderfully operatic, larger-than-life character but K Blows Top isn’t only about him. It’s about the Cold War and America in the fifties and about the myriad absurdities of communism, capitalism, politics, diplomacy, the media, and the all-too-human follies of flawed men who possess the power to incinerate civilization.

Author Peter Carlson is a former feature writer and columnist for The Washington Post, where he wrote the weekly column “The Magazine Reader.”