Grade 11 Up-
In contrast to biographies that offer a single perspective, this volume is a compilation of excerpts from books and articles that were published from 1988 to 1998. The authors include prominent journalists who were often eyewitness observers; academics; a former ambassador to the Soviet Union; and two well-known Russians, physicist Andrei Sakharov and writer Tatyana Tolstaya. After an introductory essay presenting the period under consideration, the excerpts are grouped chronologically. An appendix with writings by and interviews with Gorbachev follows. There is surprisingly little repetition in the 18 excerpts, and in the section on the Cold War, two opposing views are offered. While the selections are all extremely well written and clear, readers without a basic understanding of this period of history may find the numerous unfamiliar names and references to various events difficult to absorb. Therefore, the book might best serve social studies teachers seeking supplementary readings to assign to highly motivated students.
Elizabeth Talbot, University of Illinois, Champaign