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Departures Podcast with Joseph Torigian, author of ‘Prestige, Manipulation, and Coercion’

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To rise to power within the rigidly authoritarian party bureaucracies of the Soviet Union and China is a feat accomplished only with great strategic acumen, backhanded political maneuvering, and, sometimes, with a certain level of violence.

On this week’s episode of Departures with Robert Amsterdam we are very pleased to feature Joseph Torigian, an assistant professor at the School of International Service at American University in Washington and the author of the new book, “Prestige, Manipulation, and Coercion: Elite Power Struggles in the Soviet Union and China after Stalin and Mao.”

Drawing on fresh insights from historical archives and expansive field research, Torigian’s book picks apart the commonly assumed myths of how these reformers came to power via intra-party democratic processes and instead highlights the often flawed and aggressive personalities which shaped these elite power dynamics – with more than a few inferences which can apply to today’s leadership in Moscow and Beijing.