9 August 2019 — Eric Walberg
Perestroika is like an airplane that takes off without knowing where it will land. (Bondarev)
Reading Taubman’s exhaustive biography of Gorbachev, Mikhail Sergeevich, I was rivetted time and again, marvelling (as did Shultz and everyone who cared): how did this guy get from collective farm winner of the Red Banner of Labour to the top? My first question in reading a bio is ‘would I like to have this person as a friend?’, then ‘would I like to be him?’ Gorbachev gets a firm Nyet on both. But he’s important and pleasant, and this 700-page bio is full of real characters acting out a drama of Shakespearian dimensions.