Sometimes it's difficult to understand the intricacies of historical events and this helps to explain the little things that make us understand why it was as important as it was. It is still difficult to believe that a conflict posing the distinct possibility of global extinction hanging over the heads of an entire generation ended with the stroke of a pen. I'm going to demand that Gorbachev brings it to me and there was a standoff. Corruption, incompetence and bone-headed flexibility did the rest. He was promoted by one of the generals who took part in the coup, Vernikoff sp? An amazing book, better than I was expecting, and well worth a read. The result is an intricately detailed, thoroughly researched book, based on interviews with many of the key figures in a drama of Shakespearean intensity as well as contemporary reportage, the memoirs and diaries of key political figures and official documents.
He met Gorbachev at Reykjavik in the first major summit of Gorbachev's time. Russia was recovering from the century of communism pretty well during the 1990's when oil prices rose. Documenting the end of the Cold War has become a kind of cottage industry. Anne McElvoy writes for the Economist. Neither of which should surprise. He notes how 'the refinement and riches of the quarters of a French queen would pale in comparison with Raisa Maximovna's boudoir and bathroom with Jacuzzi in precious stones, onyx and yashma. The material was very well presented in a way that carried you along in real time while fitting in the background facts without being a distraction.
Gorby's foreign policy adviser worried how to tell both his wife and his mistress that the country was about to shrink. Still a decent read if you're interested in the interactions of the major players in the last days of the Soviet Union. Because Gorbachev realized, and the people in his Polit bureau realized that they just couldn't match the technology and spending of the United States. While most historical works concentrate on facts, dates, and lists of players, this volume speaks of the hidden thoughts, ambitions, desires, fears, and insecurities of the first Soviet and Russian presidents, portraying them as mere people as much as powerful politicians and leaders. But it took four months of intrigue and double-dealing before the Soviet Union collapsed and the day arrived when Yeltsin could hustle Gorbachev out of the Kremlin, and move in as ruler of Russia.
It's much like reading a long New York Times story. Considering the number of people involved in the chain of events, it was extremely difficult to keep track of who is who and where people's allegiances lay, which was inevitable in a book of this sort. Gorbachev firmly believed that they wanted to get rid of him rather than the Soviet Union. When someone in the publishing industry reviews a book, they can discuss the quality of the material and the writing style. The implosion of the Soviet Union was the culmination of a gripping game played out between two men who intensely disliked each other and had different concepts for the future. All pages and cover are intact , but may have aesthetic issues such as small tears, bends, scratches, and scuffs. But it took four months of intrigue and double-dealing before the Soviet Union collapsed and the day arrived when Yeltsin could hustle Gorbachev out of the Kremlin, and move in as ruler of Russia.
His reelection in 1996 was an election like in any other country in the world. About halfway through, it got a little tiring hearing quotes from the various assistants complaining t The entire history of Russia and the Soviet Union is best viewed through the petty personal squabbles of Mikhail Gorgachev and Boris Yeltsin. But it took four months of intrigue and double-dealing before the Soviet Union collapsed and the day arrived when Yeltsin could hustle Gorbachev out of the Kremlin, and move in as ruler of Russia. Gorbachev, the man who allowed eastern Europe its freedom and became the west's pet Soviet leader, ended his period in power outmanoeuvred by the wily Russian president. Fascinating to read about the differences and similarites between the two men who truly changed the course of history. Gorbachev is shown to be surprisingly out-of-touch, vain and even a little deluded on the latter, he believed the Soviet Union could survive even after it was clear it would and could not.
The defeat of the August 1991 coup attempt, carried out by hardline communists, shook Gorbachev's authority and was a triumph for Yeltsin. Gorbachev opposed the independence of the individual states, while Yeltsin secretly encouraged that and through a secret agreement helped foster independent states and an independent Russia. Had the author attempted to balance the content and been more than a Gorbachev fanboy I think the book could have some real value, but that's beyond the scope of this book. This was a book in which I didn't think I'd be interested. But he also illuminates larger historical forces: the revival of nationalist politics in the breakaway Soviet republics; the desperate food shortages as the command economy lost its authority; the social enervation that left no one willing to defend the Soviet system by force. Having young children at the time will be my excuse, but to my shame I have no recollection of the events of Dec. O'Clery lists numerous incidents where Yeltsin broke agreements between him and Gorbachev in the last This was a book in which I didn't think I'd be interested.
I lived through these events and still had no idea of the scope of the problems and infighting that occurred. Interspersed between the narrative of tha Moscow, December 25th, 1991 is the riveting account of one of the most important moments in recent history, the fall of the Soviet Union. It's going into my Keep pile. O'Clery lists numerous incidents where Yeltsin broke agreements between him and Gorbachev in the last days of the Soviet Union. Belarus, Ukraine and Russia and another entity called the Transcaucasian Federation had formerly legally set up the Soviet Union in 1922.
He was subjected to another four hours of abuse. It was just a fig leaf to cover the divorce. Considering the number of people involved in the chain of events, it was extremely difficult to keep track of who is who and where people's allegiances lay, which was inevitable in a book of this sort. He sent workers over again to pull it down. And there have been a couple of very good accounts of the last few days by Palazhchenko, who was Gorbachev's interpreter. From there, O'Clery looks back over the events of the previous six years: Gorbachev's reform policies of glasnost and perestroika; Yeltsin's ignominious fall and then rise to the top; the defiance of the once docile Soviet republics; the failed August coup by the hardliners; and, the events that swiftly followed until a secret meeting in a central European forest sealed the fate of the communist monolith and the clock ticked down to the last day.
The internal power plays, the shifting alliances, the betrayals, the mysterious three colonels carrying the briefcase with the nuclear codes, and the jockeying to exploit the future are worthy of John Le Carré or Alan Furst. But from my research in the last dying days of the Soviet Union, the end came with a referendum in Ukraine for independence on December 1, 1991. Talk about gripping and eye-opening. The result is a revealing portrait of one of history's greatest upheavals. I am grateful for this as I feel that western media treatment of him may well have been lately shaped by cultural bias and the politics of the time.
While it does beautifully explain a very confusing time period, he doesn't seem to come to any significant conclusion about it. The structure and execution of the writing is superb. The author provides a well-balanced analysis of Gorbachev and Yeltsin, revealing moments of brilliance, courage, petty jealousies, and insecurities, and maintains a level of objectivity throughout the book. There's no right to free demonstration in Russia today, but the mass of the people regard Putin, I think, as someone who has restored dignity. One of the best modern histories I have ever heard.