In 1958, a twenty-three-year-old piano prodigy from Texas named Van Cliburn traveled to Moscow to compete in the First International Tchaikovsky Competition. The Soviets had no intention of bestowing their coveted prize on an unknown American; a Soviet pianist had already been chosen to win. Yet when the gangly Texan with the shy grin took the stage and began to play, he instantly captivated an entire nation. Nigel Cliff recreates the drama and tension of the Cold War era, and brings into focus the gifted musician and deeply compelling figure whose music would temporarily bridge the divide between two dangerously hostile powers.

“Cliff brilliantly weaves together the politics, personalities, and pianism…A well-researched, fascinating look at a special relationship between Van Cliburn and the U.S.S.R.”
— Publishers Weekly, *Starred Review*

“A sympathetic yet rounded portrait of the pianist…Highly recommended for readers interested in music (especially classical music and the piano) and the history of the Cold War.”
—Library Journal, *Starred Review*

“A thrilling delight…compulsively readable…It’s Vanya all the way in a biography for music lovers, Cold War devotees, and all readers seeking a true feel-great story.”
—Booklist, *Starred Review*

“A rousing, well-researched biography… Throughout the author vividly reprises major historical events…Sweeping history combines with a sensitive rendering of Cliburn’s extraordinary passion.”
— Kirkus Reviews, *Starred Review*

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