Former senator Hart, having discussed perestroika with Gorbachev and most of Russia's top political, academic, and military leadership, delivers a provocative report on the sudden about-face and uncertain future of the USSR. Hart has visited the Soviet Union over two-dozen times in the last few years, researching that nation's volatile situation. Far from being a politician's glance, his substantial account here is written with intelligence and a grasp of complex issues. Hart delivers a lively analysis of the roots of perestroika (discussing whether it may be a continuation of Lenin's interrupted New Economic Policy, which encouraged private ownership and market incentives), explores the forces (economic and otherwise) that drove a superpower to resign from the cold war, assesses the progress of restructuring, and speculates on alternate futures for a tottering but nuclear-armed empire that may shatter into a ring of Northern Irelands surrounding Great Russia. Despite massive shifts at the top, leaders trying to drive restructuring down deeper into the hierarchy face recalcitrant party chieftains and ministers to whom reform spells joblessness. And the people? Hart uses the recurring theme of Dostoevski's Grand Inquisitor, who questioned whether the masses would ever choose freedom over bread. America, having lost its favorite enemy, would be well advised, he says, to rebuild the bridges and schools it neglected while fighting the Reds. Despite some repetition and rambling, an entertaining as well as educational window into the minds of Soviet leaders--along with Hart's all-sided speculations into causes, motives, and outcomes.