Ever wonder what it would be like to witness a series of historical turning points? Just ask Michael Dobbs--or read his book. As a longtime foreign correspondent for the Washington Post,
Dobbs personally witnessed many of the great events in the final decade of the Iron Curtain, from the 1980 Warsaw strikes to Boris Yeltsen's heroic defiance of a Communist coup in 1991. Mikhail Gorbachev is a dominant figure on these pages, but his role in the Cold War endgame is enigmatic. Dobbs calls him "a strange amalgam of genius and incompetence, idealism and egotism, naive and cunning." The verdict on Dobbs is much clearer: his journalism will instruct future historians.
From Publishers Weekly
Washington Post correspondent Dobbs's firsthand account of the unraveling of the Soviet monolith is a remarkable tour de force, a pulsating human drama that resembles a Russian novel, full of biting ironies, driven personalities, momentous confrontations. The author, Moscow bureau chief from 1988 to 1993, was the first Western journalist admitted to the Lenin Shipyard in Gdansk during the 1980 strike led by Lech Walesa; eyewitness to the fall of the Berlin Wall and the Tiananmen Square massacre, he covered a beat stretching from the brutal hothouse of Kremlin politics to freezing Romanian orphanages to labor camps in the Urals. Drawing on primary Soviet sources, including interviews and declassified archival documents, he unearths phenomena often overlooked by Western journalists, for example, the leaderless drift of the U.S.S.R. between 1974 and 1982 as Soviet ruler Leonid Brezhnev suffered a series of nervous breakdowns caused by arteriosclerosis of the brain, or how Gorbachev, "a master obfuscator and manipulator," used the state-run television network to establish a power base among the masses. Unfolding as a series of vignettes extending from the 1979 Soviet invasion of Afghanistan through Chernobyl to the wild scramble for property and riches following the collapse of Soviet communism, his epic chronicle charts the breakdown of a system that sidetracked the nation into decades of self-imposed isolation, waste and ideological conditioning.
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc.