Books by Janet Caulkins

This fluent revision of a 1985 book captures Gorbachev's engaging public style and brings the tale of his career up to October 1988. Biographical information here is rudimentary because, as the author complains, the Soviets' habit of secrecy extends even to the private lives of their leaders: e.g., Gorbachev has grandchildren, but we doff t know how many, nor do we know his daughter's married name. Rather than waxing speculative, Caulkins focuses on well-documented incidents for insight into "Mr. G."—as he unexpectedly leaves a Washington motorcade to press the flesh, for instance, or loses his temper with badgering reporters, he assumes the dimensions of a human being rather than the remote subject of book reports. Well-chosen b&w photographs, some in assemblages, also show Gorbachev's human side, as well as providing glimpses of Soviet people and society. Sullivan's (1988) and Butson's (1986) biographies, both titled Mikhail Gorbachev, are more detailed; but this is the book of choice on the subject for younger readers. Read full book review >