McFaul, who served in President Obama’s National Security Council and is the former U.S. ambassador to Russia, combines history and memoir to tell the story of U.S.–Russia relations from the fall of the Soviet Union to the present. I found it fascinating to read about it from his perspective—not only as an expert, but as an individual dealing with other individuals. You really see history as not just moves and countermoves by governments but as a series of efforts and decisions made by people. (Diplomacy never looked so good.) With its insider stories about Obama, Putin, and Russians we’ve recently seen in the Oval Office (like Foreign Minister Lavrov), this is a candid and compelling read. - S.B.