Autopsy on an Empire: The American Ambassador's Account of the Collapse of the Soviet Union

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Random House, 1995 - Political Science - 836 pages
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As the United States ambassador to Moscow during the Gorbachev period and Ronald Reagan's full-time go-between with the Soviet leadership, Jack Matlock couldn't have been in a better position to observe the collapse of the Soviet Union. A career diplomat, fluent in Russian, with a scholarly grasp of Russian history and culture, Matlock served in the USSR for most of his career and knew the men in the Kremlin well. He had traveled widely in the Soviet Union - more widely perhaps than most Soviet officials - and had seen firsthand the discontent in the captive republics. Since the dissolution of the union began in these republics, Matlock was uniquely placed to anticipate and interpret the process as it unfolded. Yet even he was surprised by the speed and finality with which the rickety empire gave way. Though Matlock writes that a definitive version of these events can never be told, it is unlikely that a more intimate and knowledgeable account of the rise and fall of Gorbachev and the collapse of the Soviet empire will ever be written. A first-rate historian and a powerful writer, Matlock offers new insight into the contrasting policies and personal approaches of President Reagan, who dreamed of changing the Soviet Union, and President Bush, who witnessed a collapse he tried to prevent. Drawing on frequent private meetings, he explains the agenda behind Reagan's "evil empire" speech and describes how Gorbachev developed his program for reform, and why he failed.

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How Did It Happen?
The Empire
The Torch Passes

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About the author (1995)

First posted to Moscow in 1961, career diplomat JACK F. MATLOCK, JR., was America's man on the scene for most of the Cold War. A scholar of Russian history and culture, Matlock was President Reagan's choice for the crucial post of ambassador to the Soviet Union. He is the author of Autopsy on an Empire: The American Ambassador's Account of the Collapse of the Soviet Union. Matlock now divides his time between Princeton, New Jersey, and his wife's farm in Booneville, Tennessee.

"From the Hardcover edition.

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