Revolution 1989: The Fall of the Soviet Empire

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Pantheon Books, 2010 - History - 496 pages
17 Reviews
From the author of Twelve Days: The Story of the 1956 Hungarian Revolution comes a revealing new account of the collapse of the Soviet Union’s European empire during months of largely peaceful revolution that profoundly changed the world.

At the start of 1989, six European nations were Soviet vassal states. By year’s end, they had all declared national independence, embarking on the road to democracy. How did it happen so quickly? Why did the USSR capitulate so readily? Victor Sebestyen, who was on the scene reporting for the London Evening Standard at the time, draws on his firsthand knowledge of the events of 1989, on scores of interviews with other witnesses and participants, and on newly uncovered archival material to answer these questions in unprecedented depth.

Sebestyen tells the story through the eyes of ordinary men and women, some of whom found themselves almost miraculously transformed: the furnace stoker who became the Czech foreign minister; the Romanian poet who, just freed from jail, was made vice president of the newly liberated nation. He shows how power was wielded or ceded by Mikhail Gorbachev, George H. W. Bush, Lech Walesa, Václav Havel, and Margaret Thatcher, among others; how the KGB helped bring down former allied regimes; how the United States tried to slow the process; and why the collapse of the Iron Curtain was the catalyst for the fall of the entire Soviet empire.

Authoritative, riveting in both its broad political sweep and its abundance of personal detail, this is an essential addition to the annals of contemporary history.


From the Hardcover edition.

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Review: Revolution 1989: The Fall Of The Soviet Empire

User Review  - Scott - Goodreads

This book is excellent. It is well written and easy to read. Victor Sebestyen did well at relating the 'back story' of the end of Communist rule in central and Eastern Europe. I found it insightful enlightening. I strongly recommend this book. Read full review

Review: Revolution 1989: The Fall Of The Soviet Empire

User Review  - Stephanie - Goodreads

The book was not an easy read but very informative about the political climate and events that led to the downfall of the USSR. If you do not want to read this but are interested there is an audiobook version. Read full review

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About the author (2010)

VICTOR SEBESTYEN is the author of Twelve Days: The Story of the 1956 Hungarian Revolution. He has worked for many British newspapers, including the Evening Standard. Born in Budapest, he lives in England.


From the Hardcover edition.

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