An exciting, fairly well balanced account of the August 1991 coup attempt in the Soviet Union. After outlining the coup's chronology, Nadel provides background information on Soviet history, the KGB, Stalin, Gorbachev and Yeltsin and presents the coup's after effects, including the Soviet Union's collapse; she also touches on some problems the new government faces with the end of the Cold War. The present tense effectively conveys the dramatic uncertainty of the coup's first few days; shifting to past and future tenses returns the text to a more insightful mode. Direct quotes give a strong sense of the emotions of the time. The illustrations (primarily color photos) are well reproduced and keyed to the text; the design is clear and effective. Though future events may call for follow-up volumes, this documents its topic well and will serve the need for up-to-date information on the former Soviet Union--at least until more major changes occur. Chronology; brief bibliography; index.