General Alexander Lebed: My Life and My Country

Alexander Lebed, Author, Aleksandr Lebed', Author Regnery Publishing $29.95 (385p) ISBN 978-0-89526-422-0
Those looking for a behind-the-scenes update on today's Russia can disregard the memoirs of Lebed, an army general who, during his spurt of celebrity, was considered a challenger to Yeltsin's leadership, for his book proves to be long-winded and uninformative. He prattles on about his role in the Afghanistan war, an ""incompetent political adventure,"" and about Soviet military actions in Hungary and Czechoslovakia, in which the army was ""dropped into political muck."" And although Lebed's stance during the failed 1991 coup was benign, he leaves no doubt about his political leanings, as when he writes that in turning from totalitarianism toward democracy, his country ""traded one bad thing for another.... [A] creeping, slimy, rotting yoke is advancing on the land."" He argues that adopting the Western liberal model has caused Russia's disintegration and turned a once great power into ""an emaciated developing country."" In the tradition of Soviet-era memoirs, Lebed tells us nothing of his personal life, just that he met his wife in a magnet factory and that they have three offspring who are now grown. Only the most tenacious readers will plod through this book, expecting that somewhere in the dross might be a revelation or an insight. There are none. Photos not seen by PW. (Nov.)
Reviewed on: 09/01/1997
Release date: 09/01/1997
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