Khrush in America
- K Blows Top by Peter Carlson
Old Street, 327 pp, £9.99, July 2009, ISBN 978 1 905847 30 3
Shirley MacLaine danced the can-can for Khrushchev and later said: ‘life is a cosmic joke.’ By the time he got to Hollywood, the Soviet premier had become an international comic hero; to many an ogre of the left, but also a character out of Dr Strangelove or one of Vonnegut’s novels. K Blows Top, a non-fiction account of Khrushchev’s trip to America in 1959, could be the most entertaining book of the year, but it is also, in its blood, a novel, a novel-in-secret, with index and pictures and History as a character. If the novel dies, as predicted, it will be found drowned in the doldrums of verisimilitude, having forgotten the comedy of history and the value of the burlesque.