Reviews provided by Syndetics
Library Journal Review
Written by an experienced journalist observer of the Soviet collapse, this study naturally invites comparison with two recent works on the same theme: David Pryce-Jones's The Strange Death of the Soviet Empire (LJ 7/95) and Fred Coleman's The Decline and Fall of the Soviet Empire (LJ 5/1/96). Dobbs has been able to draw upon materials perhaps not available to the two others, and he has certainly read and interviewed more extensively. His account is thorough and overwhelming in its sheer mass, as he slowly assembles the giant jigsaw puzzle. Events and personalities great and small follow in relentless profusion: Afghanistan, the Armenian earthquake, Chernobyl, Nancy Reagan's astrologer, Mathias Rust, Sakharov, Walesa, and many, many more. Some details might well have been omittedYugoslav events, for examplebut the reader must be impressed by Dobbs sheer industry and breadth of research. His final verdict seems ambivalent as to whether "communism defeated itself" or was destroyed by its would-be savior, Gorbachev. As with the two previous accounts, one is struck by how ramshackle the mighty USSR in fact was. Recommended for public and academic libraries.Robert H. Johnston, McMaster Univ., Hamilton, Canada (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Dobbs's book is a welcome addition to the burgeoning literature on the fall of communism. Dobbs is a journalist who observed the events about which he writes, first as a reporter in Yugoslavia from 1977 to 1980, then as bureau chief for the Washington Post in Warsaw and Moscow from 1981 to 1995. He presents his material as a series of flash points, beginning with the Soviet Politburo, headed by a decrepit Brezhnev, deciding on December 26, 1979, to invade Afghanistan, and ending with a bewildered and defeated Gorbachev 12 years later. Dobbs argues that the Soviet system was too top heavy and brittle to survive, but that the date of its demise was not preordained. He concentrates, therefore, on the personalities, decisions, and public reactions that led to the collapse of communist totalitarianism, and the Soviet Empire and the Soviet Union. The author handles material on the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe with equal competence, and he stresses the interrelatedness of the entire process. The book is insightful, vividly written, and solidly based on interviews, observations, and published primary and secondary sources. Recommended for college, university, research, and public libraries. All levels. E. M. Despalatovic; Connecticut College
Author notes provided by Syndetics
Born in 1948 Michael Dobb was Chief of Staff and later Deputy Chairman of the Conservative Party. He has a doctorate in nuclear defense studies. Dobbs has also been Deputy Chairman of Saatchi & Saatchi, he presented the BBC TV current affairs program Despatch Box and was a columnist for The Mail on Sunday. <p> Dobbs recently penned the hugely acclaimed theatre play, 'The Turning Point'. He is also the author of the Harry Jones Thrillers, Churchill Novels, and the Parliamentary Novels Series. The immensely popular Netflix series House of Cards is based on book 1 of the Parliamentary Novels by the same name. <p> Michael became Lord Dobbs of Wylye in December 2010 after a long career in and around politics. <p> (Bowker Author Biography)