Despite the obstacles to writing an unauthorized biography of a living Soviet statesman (no access to the subject, his papers, or the archives of government or party), Paul Murphy has done a credible and creditable job. He has to go beyond the evidence at times-the word "probably" appears frequently-but he avoids Kremlinological gymnastics. Brezhnev comes through as a master at manipulating the levers of power on the way up and at the top, but the human personality, if there be one, scarcely emerges.
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