Gorbachev: A Biography

Gerd Ruge, Author Chatto & Windus $29.95 (260p) ISBN 978-0-7011-3747-2
Reading like the crudest propaganda, this is a downright silly apologia. We're shown a Gorbachev who sits at the right hand of God, ever honest, kind, goodtempered. His ``ability to adapt to newly perceived reality makes him unique among today's statesmen,'' writes Ruge, a German journalist who has covered the U.S.S.R. since 1956. As depicted here, the young Gorbachev was a model of caring behavior: growing up in the village of Privolnoye, he voluntarily chopped wood daily for the classroom stove; at university in Moscow, he offered his only coat to a fellow student whose own was threadbare. Former village neighbors reminisce to Ruge about Gorbachev in saint-like terms--one wonders, would even a provincial be so dumb as to tell a foreign journalist otherwise, especially in the early uncertain days of Gorbachev's ascendancy, when this biography apparently was written? So outdated is the book that Eduard Shevardnadze, for example, is written about in the present tense as Foreign Minister, and only in a postscript is his resignation mentioned. Photos (Feb.)
Reviewed on: 01/01/1991
Release date: 01/01/1991
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