Author(s): William Taubman
From the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Khrushchev: The Man and his Era comes the definitive volume on one of the most important and controversial figures of the 20th century. When Mikhail Gorbachev became its leader in March 1985, the USSR was still one of the world's two superpowers. By the end of his tenure six years later, the Communist system was dismantled, the cold war was over and, on 25th December 1991, the Soviet Union itself ceased to exist. While not solely responsible for this remarkable upheaval, he set decisive changes in motion. Assessments of Gorbachev could not be more polarised. In the West, he is regarded as a hero. In Russia, he is widely hated by those who blame him for the collapse of the USSR. Admirers marvel at this vision and courage. Detractors, including many of his Kremlin comrades, have accused him of everything from naivete to treason.
`This is a meticulously researched, carefully nuanced and immensely readable biography of a remarkable, but insufficiently understood, twentieth century political leader. Taubman's book is destined to remain the fullest and most authoritative life of Gorbachev for years to come' -- Archie Brown, author of The Myth of the Strong Leader and The Rise and Fall of Communism `William Taubman has now done for Gorbachev what he had previously done for Khrushchev, giving us the full life deeply grounded in the Soviet and Russian archives, here with the added benefit of Gorbachev's complete cooperation. Perhaps a hundred years from now, when our perspective on Russia's role in the world has further clarified, another biography will be needed. For now, however, Gorbachev is the closest thing to the final word that history allows.' -- Joseph Ellis, author of Founding Brothers: The Revolutionary Generation
William Taubman is Bertrand Snell Professor Emeritus of Political Science at Amherst College. His 2003 book, Khrushchev: The Man and his Era, won both the Pulitzer Prize for biography and the National Book Critics Circle Award for biography in 2004. Taubman has been the President of the American Association for the Advancement of Slavic Studies, and chairs the Advisory Committee of the Cold War International History Project at the Woodrow Wilson Center for Scholars in Washington.