The End of the Line: The Failure of Communism in the Soviet Union and China

Christopher S. Wren, Author Simon & Schuster $22.45 (0p) ISBN 978-0-671-63864-1
In a trenchant, perceptive report, New York Times foreign correspondent Wren measures the immense gap between rhetoric and reality in the Soviet Union and China, countries he traveled extensively for a decade. He draws parallels between the 100,000-member KGB and China's secret-police apparatus. In both countries, he observed xenophobic distrust of outsiders, an obsession with secrecy, severe shortages of consumer goods, a social welfare system that caters to the elite; brutal police batter confessions out of people and ``re-education'' is effected through forced labor. Gorbachev and Deng Xiaoping, in Wren's estimate, share a fatal flaw: each wants a basically unaltered political system, with unavoidable reforms imposed from the top instead of emanating from below, as in Eastern Europe. This thoroughgoing critique is crucial reading for those seeking to gauge the future direction of the two Communist giants. (Aug.)
Reviewed on: 08/01/1990
Release date: 08/01/1990
Genre: Nonfiction
Paperback - 978-0-671-74033-7
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