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Gorbachev--on my country and the world
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Gorbachev, who currently heads a Moscow think tank (the Gorbachev Foundation), takes a hard look at world affairs in a memoir that showcases both the former Soviet premier's intelligence and his self-defeating idealism. He sharply warns that Russia is slipping back toward authoritarian rule with a paralyzed parliament and mass media firmly controlled by big government and oligarchs. Downplaying the role of nationalist movements in hastening the breakup of the Soviet Union in 1991, he acrimoniously blames its disintegration on Boris Yeltsin, whom he accuses of an irresponsible quest for power. In issuing vigorous calls for the peaceful, democratic co-development of all nations, for nuclear disarmament and for a strengthened U.N., he tries to present himself as a democratic humanist. But too often he still sounds like a die-hard Marxist-Leninist. While he condemns Bolshevik one-party rule as a colossal disaster, he assigns nearly all of the blame to Stalin and clings to the fantasy that under Lenin the Party still maintained strong democratic traditions. He upholds the idea of socialism, arguing that genuine socialism has never been tried not in the Soviet Union, China, Cuba or elsewhere. His support of a stronger U.N., furthermore, is based at least as much on his distrust of the U.S. (he has harsh words for the NATO war on Yugoslavia) as it is on any faith in the international organization. In the end, this is the memoir of a humane man who appears never to have been able to appreciate the difference between abstraction and real life or, as a socialist might say, between theory and practice. (Nov.) Copyright 1999 Cahners Business Information.


Looks at the October Revolution, the Cold War, Lenin, Stalin, Yeltsin, and the future of Russia, and argues that the development of socialism was cut short by Stalin - (Baker & Taylor)

Gorbachev, former General Secretary Treasurer of the Soviet Communist Party and the last significant President of the Soviet Union, reflects on the past, present, and future of his homeland. Divided into sections on the October Revolution, the 1991 breakup, and future prospects, Gorbachev concludes that the U.S.S.R. was a totalitarian system but that the break up of the union was a tragedy that should have been avoided. He also discusses the current state of Russia and how it should relate to such events as NATO's bombing in Yugoslavia. Translated from the Russian work Razmyshleniia o proshlom i budushchem . Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR ( - (Book News)

Here is the whole sweep of the Soviet experiment and experience as told by its last steward. Drawing on his own experience, rich archival material, and a keen sense of history and politics, Mikhail Gorbachev speaks his mind on a range of subjects concerning Russia's past, present, and future place in the world. Here is Gorbachev on the October Revolution, Gorbachev on the Cold War, and Gorbachev on key figures such as Lenin, Stalin, and Yeltsin.

The book begins with a look back at 1917. While noting that tsarist Russia was not as backward as it is often portrayed, Gorbachev argues that the Bolshevik Revolution was inevitable and that it did much to modernize Russia. He strongly argues that the Soviet Union had a positive influence on social policy in the West, while maintaining that the development of socialism was cut short by Stalinist totalitarianism. In the next section, Gorbachev considers the fall of the USSR. What were the goals of perestroika? How did such a vast superpower disintegrate so quickly? From the awakening of ethnic tensions, to the inability of democrats to unite, to his own attempts to reform but preserve the union, Gorbachev retraces those fateful days and explains the origins of Russia's present crisis.

But Gorbachev does not just train his critical eye on the past. He lays out a blueprint for where Russia needs to go in the next century, suggesting ways to strengthen the federation and achieve meaningful economic and political reforms. In the final section of the book, Gorbachev examines the "new thinking" in foreign policy that helped to end the Cold War and shows how such approaches could help resolve a range of current crises, including NATO expansion, the role of the UN, the fate of nuclear weapons, and environmental problems.

Gorbachev: On My Country and the World reveals the unique vision of a man who was a powerful actor on the world stage and remains a keen observer of Russia's experience in the twentieth century. - (Columbia Univ Pr)

Here is the whole sweep of the Soviet experiment and experience, as told by its last steward. Drawing on his own experience as well as rich archival material, Gorbachev ponders Russia's past, present, and future place in the world--including the October Revolution, the Cold War, and key figures such as Lenin, Stalin, and Yeltsin.

- (Columbia Univ Pr)

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