The Gorbachev Factor

Front Cover
Oxford University Press, 1997 - Biography & Autobiography - 406 pages
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.

From inside the book


1 Introduction
2 The Making of a Reformist General Secretary
3 In the Portals of Power
4 The Power of Ideas and the Power of Appointment
5 Gorbachev and Economic Reform
6 Gorbachev and Political Transformation
7 Gorbachev and Foreign Policy
8 The National Question the Coup and the Collapse of the Soviet Union
9 Conclusions

Other editions - View all

Common terms and phrases

About the author (1997)

Archie Brown is Professor of Politics at the University of Oxford and Sub-Warden of St Antony's College where he has been a Fellow since 1971. He was elected a Fellow of the British Academy in 1991. Professor Brown is the author of numerous publications on Soviet and Russian politics. His more recent works (as editor and major contributor) include The Cambridge Encyclopedia of Russia and the Former Soviet Union (1994), New Thinking in Soviet Politics (1992), The Soviet Union: A Biographical Dictionary (1990), and Political Leadership in the Soviet Union (1989).