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Mikhail Gorbachev: Memoirs Paperback – 1 Nov 1997

4.3 out of 5 stars 6 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 1040 pages
  • Publisher: Bantam; New edition edition (1 Nov. 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0553506366
  • ISBN-13: 978-0553506365
  • Product Dimensions: 19.4 x 12.8 x 5 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 190,711 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Book Description

The memoirs of Mikhail Gorbachev, one of the greatest world leaders of the twentieth century.

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The memoirs of Mikhail Gorbachev, one of the greatest world leaders of the twentieth century.

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Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars
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Format: Paperback
In this work Gorbachev seeks to explain the reasons for the situation the USSR found itself in prior to his arrival in power. From there he goes on to detail what he was trying to achieve with his policies of 'Perestroika' and 'Glasnost' and where he feels these were held back.
As with almost all political autobiographies, a certain proportion of the contents are devoted to justifying decisions, opinions and actions of the author. Nevertheless you emerge with the feeling that Gorbachev was that rarest of political species: a true visionary.
In fact you share with him his frustrations as time and again his attempts to move the monolithic Soviet state forward are slowed and even halted by people clinging to the power they had felt was theirs by right.
Later of course Boris Yeltsin (portrayed here very much as an opportunist with a desire for power) and his followers sought to undermine Gorbachev's reforms for the very different reason that they were not moving swiftly enough.
At the end you are left in no doubt of the sincerity with which Gorbachev loves his country and is pained to think of the troubles it has endured. You are also left with the impression that Gorbachev was a man who arrived at the right time and created the platform from which many people regained their freedom and found a place in the world.
For this history will, I believe, judge him to have been a shining light in an otherwise darkened room.
The problem I had with the book was very much one of comprehending what was happening and therefore sustaining interest.
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Format: Paperback
As a student who has studied the Soviet Union extensively for me this was always going to be a fascinating read. I would advise it to anyone that wishes to learn more about the workings and the problems which ultimately doomed the Soviet Union.
For those readers who don't have such a deep political interest, especially readers who are unfamiliar about the Soviet Union and Communist Party structures it could be quite difficult read. Differentiating between a Congress, conference, plenum, oblast, kraikom, gorkom etc can be difficult. While Gorbachev also makes long points on economic reforms both firstly in his home region of Stavropol and then the whole of the Soviet Union, which he himself even admits to be taxing to the reader!
However it's overall fascinating and enjoyable read, the problems emenating from the Brezhnev 'era of stagnation' turbulent times of perestroika and glasnost through to the ending of the cold war and the August 1991 coup. The sharp analytical mind of Gorbachev makes it more understandable to see why the countries of the former Soviet Union are having such problems today.
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An interesting insight into another momentous period of Russian history. Some of it was easy to follow, other parts not; I found having my laptop on hand useful to research and fill in more of the detail. I think the reader is left with a clear view of what makes Gorbachev tick and emphasises his steely determination to shift the direction and culture of the former USSR against what ultimately proved, in his tenure as leader, to be an unstoppable tide. The book allows the reader to form opinions on Gorbachev's approach and understand how the introduction of perestroika and its flaws led to the eventual breakup of the Soviet Union.
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