If it were fiction nobody would believe it. Real life events just don’t happen in such dramatic and thematic sync, right? A succession of aged, feeble, and sclerotic Soviet leaders General Secretaries Leonid Brezhnev, Yuri Andropov, and Konstantin Chernenko become embodiments of the total moral rot that was the Soviet Union. The next in line, Mikhail Gorbachev, believed in communism and, unlike almost all of his colleagues, admired Lenin. Who would have thought that a man with such beliefs would introduce glasnost (openness), and perestroika (restructuring), and that he would be serious about it? That he would insist upon the unthinkable: that the Soviet satellite states independently make their own political decisions? The Soviet Union was ideologically, militarily, and fiscally bankrupt, and in cutting loose the satellite states, Gorbachev believed these states would choose communism. Victor Sebestyen’s Revolution 1989: The Fall of the Soviet Empire chronicles the transformation of the Soviet leadership under Gorbachev and the revolutions in the six nations of the Warsaw Pact East Germany, Poland, Czechoslovakia, Hungary, Romania, and Bulgaria that toppled the old guards of the Soviet Union and altered the course of history.
Sebestyen had access to the Soviet archives, and the finely detailed narrative renderings that pervade Revolution 1989 indicate the archives were extensively used. Paul Hecht, with his rich baseline baritone voice, his precise dramatic control, his evocative vocal cadences and inflections, and careful detailing of characters and events, is the perfect narrator for this book. At 18 hours, 40 minutes in length, the narrative is presented both chronologically and by shifts to and from the six Warsaw Pact states and Soviet Russia. The narrative architecture of the Soviet Union’s deconstruction is a complex and involved and exhilarating story. For this listener and reviewer, the effect of dynamic events of such scale and on all fronts produced a stark, dramatic, and fluid rendering of visual images. Without Hecht’s superb narration I doubt this visual enhancement would have been present in the audiobook. Revolution 1989 is a richly compelling, historically important, and very exciting listen. David Chasey
©2009 Victor Sebestyen; (P)2009 Recorded Books, LLC
Fantastic historic book
Good historic perspective of each different country
The whole book is one great read
I enjoyed this book. I found it an excelent and balanced view of the fall of the Soviet Block. What is chilling is the fact that many of the factors the author points out that lead to the fall of the Soviet Union are present in the current United States: a failure of leadership, the government and medias demonization of opposition, inflation, borrowing, ecessive spending etc. On a positive note, the book also shows what is possible if people are hopeful and persistent.
If you are even considering reading this, do it. This book offers a compelling recollection of the failures and subsequent fall of the failed communist states in Eastern Europe from the Brezhnev period up until the fall of Ceausescu in Romania.
The fall of the Soviet Empire which from this distance seems like it must always have been inevitable, but which at the time surprised just about everyone- what could be more interesting? Just about everything as it turns out.
There was nothing I could point to that was specifically untrue, but I found this book really propaganda-y. I get it, communism is bad, but could the author not have allowed the facts to speak for themselves? Despite multiple attempts I simply could not get past chapter 5 (about 2.5 hours in) my lasting impression of this book is that it was disjointed and somehow desperately dull.
For anyone looking for a good Cold War era read I would recommend Iron Curtain: The Crushing of Eastern Europe 1944-1956 by Anne Applebaum or the surprisingly engaging The Sword and the Shield by Christopher Andrew and Vasili Mitrokhin as Audible alternatives.
I liked this book. It was informative and showed the long range of details both present and historical that led to the fall of the Soviet Bloc. Not just in the USSR but in most of the other countries behind the Iron Curtain.
1) Dictatorship by Scientific Marxist socialist experts ruling the State. 2) State ownership of the means of production.
What could possibly go wrong?
"They lie to us. We know they lie to us. They know we know they lie to us. We all go home." To this day people claim to be Marxist/Lenninists presumably ready to break eggs for omlets.
I only have the slightest memories of the wall coming down when I was 9 years old. This book tells the rich and incredible story of how it all happened. I am very glad I listened.
Learned about many things I was unaware of and it was presented in a very entertaining manner and made a serious subject very human and enjoyable.
Report Inappropriate Content