Vietnam War Timothy J. Colton Yeltsin: A Life

ISBN 13: 9780465012718

Yeltsin: A Life

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9780465012718: Yeltsin: A Life

Even after his death in April 2007, Boris Yeltsin remains the most controversial figure in recent Russian history. Although Mikhail Gorbachev presided over the decline of the Communist party and the withdrawal of Soviet control over eastern Europe, it was Yeltsin-Russia's first elected president-who buried the Soviet Union itself. Upon taking office, Yeltsin quickly embarked on a sweeping makeover of newly democratic Russia, beginning with a program of excruciatingly painful market reforms that earned him wide acclaim in the West and deep recrimination from many Russian citizens. In this, the first biography of Yeltsin's entire life, Soviet scholar Timothy Colton traces Yeltsin's development from a peasant boy in the Urals to a Communist party apparatchik, and then ultimately to a nemesis of the Soviet order. Based on unprecedented interviews with Yeltsin himself as well as scores of other Soviet officials, journalists, and businessmen, Colton explains how and why Yeltsin broke with single-party rule and launched his drive to replace it with democracy. Yeltsin's colossal attempt to bring democracy to Russia remains one of the great, unfinished stories of our time. As anti-Western policies and rhetoric resurface in Putin's increasingly bellicose Russia, Yeltsin offers essential insights into the past, present, and future of this vast and troubled nation.

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About the Author:

Timothy J. Colton is Morris and Anna Feldberg Professor of Government and Russian Studies and Director of the Davis Center for Russian and Eurasian Studies at Harvard University. He lives in Wellesley, Massachusetts.

Review:

"Choice"
"[A] massive yet quite readable and utterly absorbing biography."
"New Statesman
""In its lucid narrative, exhaustiveness and ample use of primary sources, this history gives Yeltsin his due and surely sets the standard by which future biographies of Russia's first elected president will be judged."
"America"
"An authoritative, impeccably researched and richly contextualized study of Yeltsin.... Colton is a masterful political historian; he weaves the story of Yeltsin's life into the fabric of Soviet and Russian history, at every stage offering insightful descriptions of the time, the place and the people."

"Time
""A fine biography of Russia's first postcommunist President. Colton's research is thorough and his chronicle lively and measured. It's fitting, too, that Yeltsin has sprung his last surprise by finding a biographer to rank him, justifiably, among the politicians with the greatest impact on the 20th century."
"Financial Times
""The Yeltsin years could have turned out a lot worse. Russia did not descend into civil war, as some had predicted. It did not disintegrate. The nuclear arsenal was kept secure. The economy almost collapsed but by the end of the decade it was on the road to recovery. For all this and more, Yeltsin deserves credit. And he deserves a biography as good as Colton's."
"New York Times
""Mr. Colton is not the first to undertake Yeltsin's redemption. But Mr. Colton has used the extra time to excellent effect. He has mined declassified Kremlin transcripts; fact-checked many memoirs; conducted extensive interviews with participants, including Yeltsin, shortly before his death last year; and synthesized a story that anyone curious about contemporary Russia will find illuminating."

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