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. 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.
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 analyzes 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. 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.
`This book is perhaps the most eloquent statement to date of an alternative view: that peaceful change was possible, that it was taking place, and that it was underpinned by a philosophy that, by late 1989, was social democratic in its inspiration.'
Archie Brown provides a needed reminder of the tensions, excitement, and high drama of the fast-paced perestroika years. Exhaustive and carefully grounded in an impressive diversity of sources (with more than 70 pages of detailed notes and supporting documentation), this volume provides an analysis that will prove to be among the most definitive when future students of politics turn to the final years of the Soviet system. John P. Willerton, American Political
The most fundamental of all the books on perestroika... Archie Brown's book by no means ends the discussion about Gorbachev and perestroika, but raises it to a new and higher professional level. Sergei Peregudov, Polis (Moscow)
Brown's closely reasoned book... makes a better case for Gorbachev's record as a reformer than Gorbachev's own memoirs... the most thorough exposition of Gorbachev's domestic political record yet to appear. Jack F. Matlock, Fr., New York Review of Books
To understand this singular man, the reader can do no better than to turn to Archie Brown's astute and lucid book. [No other] examines the subject as thoroughly as this volume... A rich study, as impressive in its sweep as in its details. Abraham Brumberg, New York Times
The fullest and most objective analysis of the perestroika period in Western scholarly literature. Georgy Shakhnazarov, Svobodnaya mysl (Moscow)
'The Gorbachev Factor is a well documented and scholarly study which will stand the test of time. But it also has a rare immediacy, since Brown succeeds in recreating the excitement of the moment. Margot Light, Millennium
`Supported as it is by some formidable scholarship, Brown's interpretation of the early years, at least, is powerfully persuasive. This, at any rate, is the best-informed account in English of the evolution of Gorbachev's political views and strategies between 1985 and 1989.'
Times Literary Supplement
`Archie Brown has been able to take account of the wealth of detail, particularly memoir evidence and interviews with many of perestroika's participants, which previous studies could not. The end result is an elegant and authoritiative account.'
Matthew Wyman, University of Keele, Political Studies, Vol 45, No. 1, March '97
`Archie Brown has written a book which fully reflects his expertise, knowledge and scholarship; and whose argument, content and sophistication are quite outstanding ... the balance between Gorbachev's success and failure is not entirely positive ... Archie Brown's book makes a major contribution to evaluating that balance. It deserves to be widely read.'
John Wigley, The Haberdashers' Aske's School, Elstree, Talking Politics
`The most fundamental of all the books on perestroika.'
Sergei Peregudov, Polis: Politicheskie issledovaniya (Moscow)
`The Gorbachev Factor is a well documented and scholarly study which will stand the test of time. But it also has a rare immediacy, since Brown succeeds in recreating the excitement of the moment.'
Margot Light, Millennium: Journal of International Studies
`The fullest and most objective analysis of the perestroika period in Western scholarly literature ... an attempt to answer the question, what can a reformer achieve and where is the limit of his possibilities. From this point of view the monograph is not so much a historical study as a work of theory and political science.'
Georgy Shakhnazarov, Svobodnaya mysl (Moscow)
`Archie Brown's long-awaited work has been very well worth the wait. Here at last we have a book which takes the study of Gorbachev and his era out of the quicksands of politics and sets it on a firm scholarly basis ... this distinguished book casts a flood of light on how the man who toppled the nomenklatura with such dexterity and such aplomb in the end dug his own career grave as well.'
John Gooding, History
The Making of a Reformist General Secretary
In the Portals of Power
The Power of Ideas and the Power of Appointment
Gorbachev and Economic Reform
Gorbachev and Political Transformation
Gorbachev and Foreign Policy
The National Question, the Coup, and the Collapse of the Soviet Union