Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Interview: Matthew Brzezinski

In the latest of the blog's original interviews, the political scientist Ray Taras, whose scholarship includes many publications on Russian and East European politics, interviewed Matthew Brzezinski about his new book, Red Moon Rising: Sputnik and the Hidden Rivalries that Ignited the Space Age.

Brzezinski also responded to my own (lazy but, I hope, worthwhile) question:
What question do you wish someone would ask you about your book(s) but no one has asked? And what's the answer?

I suppose if I had to wish a question upon myself it would be “Why Russia? Why revisit a nation I so thoroughly trashed in my first book?” The irony is that the Soviet Union comes across in a far more positive light in Red Moon Rising than Yelstin's post-communist Russia did in Casino Moscow. Perhaps it is a proverbial case of proximity breeding contempt; I did not have to live in Moscow circa 1957 in order to write Red Moon Rising. But I'd like to think that it is also a good example of authorial impartiality, being able to set aside one's personal feelings to judge an event -- in this case the early space and missile race -- without prejudice, or the patriotic blinders that color so many Cold War books. The Russians won this battle fair and square, and the US blundered pretty badly at first. And I think it's important to learn from defeats as well as victories -- even if it means casting the Soviets as unlikely heroes.
Read the complete Taras-Brzezinski interview.

Matthew Brzezinski is a former Moscow correspondent for the Wall Street Journal and has reported extensively on homeland-security issues for the New York Times Magazine and other publications. He is the author of Casino Moscow: A Tale of Greed and Adventure on Capitalism’s Wildest Frontier and Fortress America: On the Front Lines of Homeland Security.

Learn more about Red Moon Rising at the publisher's website.

Author Interviews: Matthew Brzezinski.

--Marshal Zeringue