Mikhail Gorbachev

Easton Press Mikhail Gorbachev books

Perestroika : New Thinking for Our Country and the World - Books That Changed The World - 1996


Mikhail Gorbachev biography

Mikhail Sergeyevich Gorbachev, born on March 2, 1931, in Privolnoye, Soviet Union (now Russia), is a former Soviet statesman who played a pivotal role in the transformation of the Soviet Union and the end of the Cold War. Gorbachev entered politics at a young age and rapidly ascended through the ranks of the Communist Party. In 1985, he became the General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, succeeding Konstantin Chernenko. Gorbachev inherited a country facing economic stagnation, political repression, and strained relations with the West. Faced with the need for reforms, Gorbachev introduced a series of groundbreaking policies known as "perestroika" (economic restructuring) and "glasnost" (political openness). These reforms aimed to modernize the Soviet economy, reduce bureaucracy, and allow for greater political freedom and transparency. Gorbachev's leadership style marked a departure from the rigid orthodoxy of previous Soviet leaders.

Internationally, Gorbachev pursued a policy of détente, seeking improved relations with the United States and other Western nations. His meetings with U.S. President Ronald Reagan and subsequent leaders played a crucial role in easing tensions between the two superpowers. The Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty, signed in 1987, was a significant achievement that led to the elimination of a whole category of nuclear missiles. The most defining moment of Gorbachev's tenure came with the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989. The dismantling of the wall symbolized the end of the Cold War and the beginning of a new era in Europe. Gorbachev's policies inadvertently set in motion a wave of democratization and independence movements across Eastern Europe, eventually leading to the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991.

In the aftermath of the Soviet Union's collapse, Gorbachev resigned as president, and the Russian Federation, under Boris Yeltsin, emerged as the successor state. Gorbachev continued to be involved in Russian and international affairs, advocating for political reform, peace, and global cooperation. Despite his efforts to bring about positive change, Gorbachev faced criticism and challenges both within the Soviet political establishment and from those who believed the reforms did not go far enough. Nevertheless, Mikhail Gorbachev's legacy remains deeply intertwined with the historic transformations of the late 20th century, and he is often recognized as a key figure in bringing about the end of the Cold War and the restructuring of global geopolitics.


Perestroika - New Thinking for Our Country and the World

Mikhail Gorbachev's 1987 book, New Thinking for Our Country and the World, is his own account of the "revolution" he is promoting in the USSR. In it, he outlines his ambitious plans to reform the Soviet economy and culture, and calls for a new international order free of violence and nuclear arms. Are his proposals to reform the Soviet system serious and workable? Are they designed to produce a more efficient and humane society, or simply to consolidate the power of the Communist Party? Will his proposals in the international arena contribute to peace, or are they calculated to divide the Western Alliance? What are the implications for Eastern Europe, Afghanistan, Nicaragua and other countries within the Soviet orbit? Is Gorbachev the long-awaited new Soviet man, or is he the most dangerous leader since Lenin? These and other questions are addressed by the eminent scholars, statesmen, and journalists invited to contribute to this anthology, Kenneth Adelman, Zbigniew Brzezinski, Vladimir Bukovsky, Alexander Dubcek, Marshall I. Goldman, George F. Kennan, Jeane Kirkpatrick, Henry Kissinger, Charles Krauthammer, Richard Nixon, Peter G. Peterson, Natan Sharansky, Phillip Taubman, Margaret Thatcher, and Robert C. Tucker.

When this book appeared in December 1987, the event was resounding. For the first time, the highest figure in the Soviet state, Mikhail Gorbachev, openly denounces the flaws of the system. By proposing radical changes inside and out, Gorbachev announces to the world, seventy years after October, that another revolution is underway. Thirty years later, what remains? In light of the fall of the Soviet bloc, we are tempted to read Perestroika as a harbinger of the coming dislocation. But let us be wary of the retrospective illusion: Gorbachev intends to save the system and not overthrow it, and many contemporaries have noted that his program was in fact hardly revolutionary. A shock book that became a historical document, Perestroika remains the key piece of political suspense on a global scale, and the symbol of one of the highlights of contemporary memory.


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