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William Taubman has written an excellent biography of Mikhail Gorbachev (1931- ). Taubman describes how MG went from the son of a peasant from a remote province to the leader of the Soviet Union.
The first third of the book is about MG’s early years. The next part of the book reveals his rise to power. Taubman reports that gradually MG saw that use of force had solved nothing. MG began to question the massive-over centralization of the Soviet system. In 1983 on a trip to Canada he discussed with the Soviet Ambassador to Canada Alexander Yakovlev (1923-2005), his concerns. Yakovlev would become an architect of MG’s new thinking. In 1985 when he became president he started making changes to the system. He allowed open debate and criticism and he pushed for nuclear disarmament. “The Soviet Union fell apart after MG weakened the State in an attempt to strengthen the individual” according to Taubman.
The book is well written and meticulously researched. I learned an enormous amount from the book. I lived through the events, but this book provided the inside information and a good review of the history. I highly recommend this book. Taubman won the Pulitzer Prize for his biography of Nikita Khrushchev (1894-1971). Taubman is a Professor Emeritus of Political Science at Amherst College.
The book is long at almost thirty-three hours. Henry Strozier does an excellent job narrating the book. Strozier is an actor and an award-winning audiobook narrator. He won the Emmy Award for Outstanding Narrator in 2014 and 2015.
7 of 8 people found this review helpful
The insights about the Gorby times are tremendous, cant recommend this book high enough for those that want to really understand more details of how Russia and the USSR republics got where they are today.
3 of 3 people found this review helpful