Present at the Destruction, Review of Jack F. Matlock,'s Autopsy of an Empire

Jack F.

Issue: Summer 1996

Jack F. Matlock, Autopsy of an Empire (New York: Random House, 1994; and David Satter, Age of Delirium: The Decline and Fall of the Soviet Union (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1996).

Two very surprising things happened to the Soviet Union under Gorbachev's stewardship. First, the regime crumbled at quite remarkable speed. In the second place, and even more surprisingly, it did so with relatively little bloodshed. In 1985 it would have been very difficult to predict either eventuality. Jack Matlock makes no attempt to pretend that he did so. Instead, he comments that at the time of Gorbachev's ascent to power he expected the eventual triumph of democracy in the USSR and hoped that his grandchildren would live to see it.

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