Yeltsin: a life
Even after his death in April 2007, Boris Yeltsin remains the most controversial figure in recent Russian history. Although Mikhail Gorbachev presided over the decline of the Communist party and the withdrawal of Soviet control over eastern Europe, it was Yeltsin-Russia’s first elected president-who buried the Soviet Union itself. Upon taking office, Yeltsin quickly embarked on a sweeping makeover of newly democratic Russia, beginning with a program of excruciatingly painful market reforms that earned him wide acclaim in the West and deep recrimination from many Russian citizens. In this, the first biography of Yeltsin’s entire life, Soviet scholar Timothy Colton traces Yeltsin’s development from a peasant boy in the Urals to a Communist party apparatchik, and then ultimately to a nemesis of the Soviet order. Based on unprecedented interviews with Yeltsin himself as well as scores of other Soviet officials, journalists, and businessmen, Colton explains how and why Yeltsin broke with single-party rule and launched his drive to replace it with democracy. Yeltsin’s colossal attempt to bring democracy to Russia remains one of the great, unfinished stories of our time. As anti-Western policies and rhetoric resurface in Putin’s increasingly bellicose Russia, Yeltsin offers essential insights into the past, present, and future of this vast and troubled nation.
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Yeltsin: a lifeUser Review - Book Verdict
In spite of his tremendous importance in the transformation of the former Soviet Union, few biographies in English trace the rise and fall of Boris Yeltsin. Colton (government & Russian studies, Harvard; Soldiers and the Soviet State) remedies that situation somewhat with this detailed study informed extensively by Russian-language primary documents and an interview with Yeltsin in person. Covered are Yeltsin's origins in the downtrodden kulak peasantry; his rise through the intricate networks of Soviet bureaucracy from provincial posts to leadership in Moscow; the political machinations behind his role in the upheavals that brought about the dissolution of the Soviet Union; and his eventual decline and death. The wealth of detail will either fascinate or daunt general readers depending on their level of interest in tracing byzantine maneuverings. Although Yeltsin the human being emerges sometimes in the foreground, this is chiefly a book about politics and political processes. It will be of lasting importance to serious readers and is highly recommended for academic as well as large public libraries.-Barbara Walden, Univ. of Wisconsin Lib., Madison
Review: Yeltsin: A Political LifeUser Review - Goodreads
3 and a half stars. Well researched, but definitely lets its bias cloud the interpertation by a lot.