This clumsily written biography of Russian President Yeltsin doesn't hide its political motives. Part of a series called Champions of Freedom, it never wastes a chance to tell us how the Communist USSR sapped workers of incentive, but it praises Yeltsin's ambition and personal drive (without pondering how such a man could have resulted from such a system). Footnoted heavily, the book relies on Yeltsin's own memoirs for anecdotes about his rise to power, from childhood on a Siberian collective farm to a civil engineering career and various government posts, culminating in his being elected President of Russia after the Soviet Union's collapse. There's an admirable attempt to explain all the infighting and machinations within the Politburo, the Central Committee, and later, the Russian Congress, and the pace picks up during the dramatic 1991 coup against Mikhail Gorbachev (perhaps Yeltsin's finest hour) and the 1993 coup aimed at Yeltsin himself. Newcomer Miller sidesteps certain issues about Yeltsin -- his hunger for power, his drinking -- but a fair portrait emerges of a fighter with great political savvy. It won't leap off the bookshelf, but a kid assigned to read this book for a class report might end up fascinated by this episode in history.