K Blows Top

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K Blows Top: A Cold War Comic Interlude, Starring Nikita Khrushchev, America's Most Unlikely Tourist (2009, ISBN 978-1-58648-497-2) is a book by Peter Carlson published by PublicAffairs describing the 1959 visit of Nikita Khrushchev to the United States.

Khrushchev's visit took him to New York, New York, Los Angeles, California, San Francisco, California, Iowa, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and Washington, D.C., and included visits to 20th Century Fox, the Mark Hopkins Hotel, an Iowa farm, a Pittsburgh steel mill, and Camp David. Highlights included meeting Shirley MacLaine and Frank Sinatra on the set of Can-Can, visiting a Quality Foods supermarket in San Francisco, and meeting Harry Bridges, fiery labor leader, movie star Marilyn Monroe, and hostess Perle Mesta, among many other Americans, famous and not-so-famous.

The title comes from a New York Times headline about Khrushchev's reaction when he was refused admission to Disneyland.[1]

Book reviews[edit]

Wha a joy it was to read Peter Carlson's K Blows Top. With vivid detail, crisp language, subtle wit, and admirable new research, Carlson recounts Khrushchev's notorious bungling around America in 1959. A truly fine piece of writing and Cold War scholarship.
Douglas Brinkley, professor of history, Rice University
Peter Carlson's K Blows Top is an utterly hilarious and un-putdown-able story about one of the strangest episodes of the Cold War -- Khrushchev's 1959 visit to the U.S. Someone has to make this into a movie. I insist!
Christopher Buckley, author Thank You for Smoking
This book recreates in vivid detail one of the most astonishing figures in our recent history. The Communist leader's storming of America can be enjoyed by everyone, but especially those with memories of that singular episode of the Cold War.
Daniel Schorr, NPR

Film adaptation[edit]

In 2013, the story was in pre-production as a made-for-television movie to be produced by Tom Hanks and starring Paul Giamatti.[2]


  1. ^ C-SPAN, Carlson interview, August 31, 2009
  2. ^ "K Blows Top". IMDB. IMDb.com, Inc. Retrieved 22 May 2013. 

External links[edit]