NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • From the Pulitzer Prize–winning author of The Russians, a “lively and provocative”* analysis of the Soviet Union in its twilight years.
*The New York Times Book Review
Even from afar, the transformation in the Soviet Union held a special fascination for all of us, and not only because it affected our destiny, our survival, even the changing nature of our own society. What happened there riveted our interest for a deeper reason: It was a modern enactment of one of the archetypal stories of human existence, that of the struggle from darkness to light, from poverty toward prosperity, from dictatorship toward democracy. It represented an affirmation of the relentless human struggle to break free from the bonds of hierarchy and dogma, to strive for a better life, for stronger, richer values. It was an affirmation of the human capacity for change, growth, renewal.
The New Russians is about how that story of change began and what this change meant for the Russian people—and for the rest of the world.
In The Russians , published in 1983, Smith asserted that fundamental change in the Soviet Union was impossible. Based on his 10 trips to the U.S.S.R. within the past two years, his new book represents an about-face. He hails the current wave of reforms as ``the most extraordinary peaceful revolution of the twentieth century'' and argues that the process of change will sustain momentum--with or without Gorbachev. This riveting, in-depth report has its finger on the pulse of perestroika and glasnost as the Pulitizer Prize-winning journalist travels from Lithuania to Central Asia, talking to industry managers, Armenian nationalists, farmers hit by ecological disaster, TV producers, revilers and die-hard reverers of Stalin. Smith illuminates the struggle between the party bureaucracy and the increasingly liberal Soviet media, which has played a vital role in reshaping public attitudes. Author tour.