35+ Years of Freedom of Information Action

Summits Book Wins Choice Award “Outstanding Academic Title 2017”

Published: Jan 4, 2018

For more information, contact:
Tom Blanton or Svetlana Savranskaya
nsarchiv@gwu.edu, 202 / 994-7000

Archive volume of Gorbachev-Reagan-Bush transcripts “highly recommended” to research libraries

Research supported by Carnegie Corporation of New York and John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation

Washington D.C., January 4, 2018 – The journal of the Association of College and Research Libraries, Choice magazine, has picked the Archive’s most recent book, by Svetlana Savranskaya and Thomas Blanton, as an “Outstanding Academic Title 2017.”

The book, The Last Superpower Summits: Gorbachev, Reagan, and Bush: Conversations that Ended the Cold War, was published by Central European University Press in 2017, and excerpted by The New York Times on December 25, 2016.

The Choice citation reads:  “Awarding outstanding works for their excellence in presentation and scholarship, the significance of their contribution to the field, their originality and value as an essential treatment of their subject, and significance in building undergraduate collections.”

Since its founding as a monthly collection of recommended titles more than 50 years ago, Choice has become the go-to source for librarians seeking worthwhile new titles for their collection.  The publication offers 600 reviews every month, identifying the best new books and digital content in academia.  With more than 2,400 institutions served worldwide, Choice is the premier review journal of new academic titles.  Choice is the publishing branch of the Association of College & Research Libraries, a division of the American Library Association. 

Reviewers have called the book an “astute commentary” and “absolutely indispensable” (Pulitzer Prize winner William Taubman); “a triumph of history ... fascinating, authentic and invaluable” (Pulitzer Prize winner David Hoffman); and “exciting reading ... a real textbook on the skill of statesmanship for new generations of political leaders” (former Gorbachev press secretary Andrei Grachev).

The book required 20 years of research, the cooperation of the Gorbachev Foundation in Moscow with special help from former foreign policy adviser Anatoly Chernyaev to provide the Soviet transcripts, and more than a decade of Freedom of Information Act requests to the Reagan and Bush 41 Presidential Libraries after the Soviet memcons were released to open the American memcons of the summits. The Carnegie Corporation of New York supported the U.S.-Soviet/U.S.-Russia relations research, with additional nuclear weapons research supported by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation.

The book is the latest in the series of National Security Archive Cold War Readers published by CEU Press and edited by Malcolm Byrne.  They include:

  • The Last Superpower Summits: Gorbachev, Reagan, and Bush: Conversations that Ended the Cold War by Svetlana Savranskaya and Thomas Blanton (2017)
  • Masterpieces of History: The Peaceful End of the Cold War in Europe, 1989, by Svetlana Savranskaya, Thomas Blanton, and Vladislav Zubok (2010)
  • From Solidarity to Martial Law: The Polish Crisis of 1980-1981, by Andrzej Paczkowski and Malcolm Byrne (2007)
  • A Cardboard Castle? An Inside History of the Warsaw Pact, 1955-1991, by Vojtech Mastny and Malcolm Byrne (2005)
  • The 1956 Hungarian Revolution: A History in Documents, by Csaba Békés, Malcolm Byrne, and János Rainer (2002)
  • Uprising in East Germany, 1953: The Cold War, the German Question, and the First Major Upheaval Behind the Iron Curtain, by Christian F. Ostermann (2001)
  • The Prague Spring, ’68, by Jaromír Navrátil et al (1998)

CEU Press plans to publish the paperback version of the award-winning book in summer 2018, in two volumes, one focusing on the Gorbachev-Reagan summits, and the second on the Gorbachev-Bush summits.