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Lenin's Tomb: The Last Days of the Soviet Empire Hardcover – 1 Jun 1993
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An engrossing and essential addition to the human and political literature of our time." --The New York TimesThe most eloquent chronicle of the Soviet empire's demise published to date.... It is hard to conceive of a work that might surpass it."--Francine du Plessix Gray, Washington Post Book World "An eloquent and riveting oral history of an epochal moment of change." --Michael Ignatieff, The Los Angeles Times "Remnick ... has achieved a very rare feat: to make the reader feel he has been present himself at a great turning point in history. It is a stunning book, moving and vivid from the first page to last." --Robert A. Caro "Utterly absorbing.... If you did not have the opportunity to witness the Soviet empire in its death throes, Lenin's Tomb will take you there." --Jack F. Matlock, Jr. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
From the Inside Flap
In the tradition of John Reed's classic Ten Days That Shook the World, this bestselling account of the collapse of the Soviet Union combines the global vision of the best historical scholarship with the immediacy of eyewitness journalism. "A moving illumination . . . Remnick is the witness for us all."--Wall Street Journal. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.See all Product description
Top customer reviews
Because Remnick goes almost entirely by interviews for his information, the book gives a very thorough biographical view of the times, but there is very little information on the general state of the country, economic and social causes for the collapse, and so on. Remnick's tone and style are very much like those of a tabloid investigative journalist, describing people and events mostly by way of the author's opinions and what the people he interviews look and act like. This has the benefit of giving one the impression of re-living the interactions with the famous of those years, but is far too shallow for any explanatory purpose.
Additionally, Remnick has too obvious favorites among the people involved. Gorbachov is generally shown more negatively than often in the West, but that fits the overall negative appraisal given to him in Russia. But people like Yeltsin and Solzhenitsyn are praised endlessly and can practically do no wrong, even though there are serious issues with both. Sakharov in particular is elevated literally to the level of a modern saint by Remnick: he is never mentioned without describing his "saintliness", "superior morality", and so on. Now in many of the cases Remnick's qualifications of his interviewees seem deserved, but it does get annoying after a while. Better to let readers decide whom they like than to pre-ordain all this.
Overall, the book is mostly useful as a collection of interviews of important people at the end of the 1980s, and as such it is very balanced in the kind of people interviewed. It fails entirely as anything more though, and should not be used as a serious explanatory book on the hows and whys of the USSR's collapse. And that is somewhat disappointing.
Most helpful customer reviews on Amazon.com
Remnick’s fascinating book contained detailed historical accounts from those who witnessed the chain-of-events of Stalinism.These person to person contacts were very moving. Stalin’s brutal regime was hard and ugly. It was difficult to understand and discouraging to read comments of admiration, living under this system, rather than scores of condemnation.
History enthusiasts should read this book for an in-depth knowledge of Stalinism and how it dramatized and excoriated the “soul” of its peoples and, what life was like under a despotic Communist ruler. I could not put this book down. It’s readable, interesting and tells a good story; chocked full of events from people who were “drivers” of the Communist world and of those who orchestrated its demise.
An extraordinary revelation of a perverted political system perpetrated upon the innocent. A very impressive book; should rank with the best. Strongly recommend.
Bruce E. McLeod, Jr.
Las Vegas, Nevada
11 April 2014
It's fun to follow him track down figures and weasel his way to get access to whoever he wants to talk with. He clearly is excited to be there during the transition and is personally invested in the story, as he speaks Russian and both his parents and his parents-in-laws have Russian ancestry. On the other hand, the book is a rag tag, contemporaneous collection of personal reporting and interests, lacking to some degree the broad overview that only comes with the passage of time.
Doubtlessly, you get the feeling of what it was like living in the Soviet Union during the Gorbachev years and the transition to Yeltsin and the end of the Communist Party....with the addition of having Remnick magically inserting himself in front of whoever he wants to talk with to fill you in on the inside story.