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Lenin's Tomb


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About the Author

David Remnick was a reporter for The Washington Post for ten years, including four in Moscow. He joined The New Yorker as a writer in 1992 and has been the magazine's editor since 1998. His most recent book is The Bridge, a biography of Barack Obama. His previous book, King of the World, a biography of Muhammad Ali, was selected by Time as the top nonfiction book of the year. Lenin's Tomb: The Last Days of the Soviet Empire won a Pulitzer Prize.


An outstanding piece of reportage informed by interviews with Mikhail Gorbachev, Boris Yeltsin, Andrei Sakharov and others, this is an account of the unraveling of the Soviet empire. It shuttles temporally across the disastrous 75-year rule of the Communist Party, and geographically from Siberian mines to Riga, Latvia, where Remnick, a former Washington Post Moscow correspondent, uncovered KGB subterfuge aimed at the Baltic independence movements. His dramatic reconstruction of the botched August 1991 putsch underscores Gorbachev's misjudgment in light of top-level fears that a right-wing coup was an imminent threat. Now a New Yorker staff writer, Remnick met farmers, Eskimos, diehard Stalinists, democratic activists, Party hacks, anti-Semites, homeless men and women, Chernobyl evacuees. He tracked down Gorbachev's high school girlfriend and a CIA agent who defected to the KGB. He portrays Yeltsin as a ``theatrical populist'' precariously leading an ``infinitely fragile'' regime. Author tour. (June)

An engrossing and essential addition to the human and political literature of our time. --The New York Times

The most eloquent chronicle of the Soviet empire's demise published to date.... It is hard to conceive of a work that might surpass it.--Francine du Plessix Gray, Washington Post Book World An eloquent and riveting oral history of an epochal moment of change. --Michael Ignatieff, The Los Angeles Times Remnick ... has achieved a very rare feat: to make the reader feel he has been present himself at a great turning point in history. It is a stunning book, moving and vivid from the first page to last. --Robert A. Caro Utterly absorbing.... If you did not have the opportunity to witness the Soviet empire in its death throes, Lenin's Tomb will take you there. --Jack F. Matlock, Jr.

In January 1988, Remnick began a tour as a reporter at the Moscow bureau of the Washington Post just in time for a front row seat to the collapse of the Soviet Union and its Communist Party. Assignments brought him into contact with everyone from elite, old-guard communists and neo-Stalinists to liberal democrats and leaders of the reform movement. Remnick recounts the particulars of these interactions in this intimate and personal account of one of the century's climactic events. His chronicle includes interesting vignettes, and his depiction of the abortive 1991 attempt to overthrow Gorbachev is compelling. Nevertheless, perspective and a sense of the monumental are hidden in ponderous, sometimes redundant detail. Of passing interest, this is suitable for popular collections. Previewed in Prepub Alert, LJ 2/1/92.-- James R. Kuhlman, Univ. of Alabama Lib., Tuscaloosa

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