Assignment Russia: Becoming a Foreign Correspondent in the Crucible of the Cold War

with Marvin Kalb in conversation with Frank Sesno

The chilliest years of the Cold War marked the entrance of a young man who would go on to become one of America's preeminent diplomatic correspondents. Handpicked by the legendary Edward R. Murrow to join the ranks of an esteemed news network, Marvin Kalb takes readers back to his first days as a journalist, and to the first days of broadcast news. 

The world in the late 1950s was a tense geopolitical drama of Eisenhower's America, Khrushchev's Russia, and Mao's China. Mistrust and strategic calculation governed international relations. Kalb, who had left his graduate work in Russian studies at Harvard at Murrow's call, brought a scholar's appreciation for history and objective research to his new role as a journalist who explained and explored this new postwar world. 

Kalb witnessed and interpreted many of the defining events of the Cold War. In Assignment Russia he ultimately finds himself assigned as Moscow correspondent for CBS news just as the U-2 incident is unfolding. Kalb brings alive the tension that surrounded that event, and the reportorial skills deployed to illuminate it. 

Like The Year I Was Peter the Great, the first volume in a series of memoirs narrating his earlier life, Assignment Russia makes us eyewitnesses to history -- and demonstrates how Kalb, as a journalist, and writer, has helped shape the first draft of that history. 

Tuesday, May 25, 2021
3:00 p.m. - 4:00 p.m. EST