Publisher description for The Gorbachev factor / Archie Brown.

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General Secretary of the Soviet Communist Party and political reformer, winner of the Nobel Peace Prize and the force behind perestroika, Mikhail Gorbachev was arguably the most important statesman of the twentieth century. When he assumed power in March 1985, it was unimaginable that the
Soviet Union would, in the space of seven years, be transformed out of existence. Enormous obstacles confronted any leader intent on changing the Soviet system radically-- centuries of authoritarian government in Russia had been followed by almost seventy years of Soviet rule. Today, however, the
changes in what used to be the Soviet Union have been so great--and peaceful-- that it is easy to forget what the unreformed Soviet system was like when Mikhail Gorbachev succeeded Konstantin Chernenko.
Providing a balanced account of the complexities of politics in the U.S.S.R. during a period of remarkable change, The Gorbachev Factor tells the gripping story of Gorbachev's rise and fall, a story full of intrigue, secret meetings, and power struggles. Author Archie Brown, one of the world's
leading authorities on Gorbachev and the first Western writer to predict his importance, sets out to comprehend the evolution of Gorbachev's thinking and to identify and evaluate his personal contribution to change in Soviet politics. He analyses the thrust of Gorbachev's domestic and foreign
policy, looks at the sources of his new ideas, and assesses his contribution to the radical changes that took place in the Soviet Union. Brown shows how Gorbachev moved beyond reform of the Soviet system to the demolition of a number of its pillars. As he came to power in 1985, Gorbachev said, "I
thought that we had a system that could be improved. Instead, I learned that we had a system that needed to be replaced." And, in a matter of years, the Soviet system quietly folded under his leadership. In the process of describing Gorbachev, Brown also provides portraits of Soviet leaders through
the years--Brezhnev, Andropov, Chernenko, and even Lenin and Stalin--and charts the influence of such Russian luminaries as Eduard Shevardnadze and Boris Yeltsin.
Perceptive and controversial, The Gorbachev Factor paints a vivid picture of a man and seven years that have changed the course of the twentieth century, offering fascinating insights into the beliefs, political style, and powers of Mikhail Gorbachev. It provides both a timely and balanced
account of the recent complexities of Soviet politics and a searching analysis of the crucial role played by a politician quite unlike any other to have headed the Soviet party and state.

Library of Congress subject headings for this publication:
Soviet Union -- Politics and government -- 1985-1991.
Gorbachev, Mikhail Sergeevich, -- 1931-