In This Review

Andropov
Andropov
By Zhores A. Medvedev
Norton, 1983, 227 pp
Purchase
Yuri Andropov: A Secret Passage Into the Kremlin
Yuri Andropov: A Secret Passage Into the Kremlin
By Vladimir Solovyov and Elena Klepikova
Macmillan, 1983, 320 pp
Purchase

The paucity of hard information on Andropov's career has not discouraged biographers, especially Russians with little cause to celebrate his achievements. Zhores Medvedev, writing in London with some long-distance help from his brother Roy in Moscow, gives a plausible account of the struggle for succession and a probably accurate picture of Andropov as a cool and capable apparatchik who played his cards well and made it to the top. The more sensational book by Solovyov and Klepikova provides more information on Andropov's drive to power than any published hitherto, and also more unsubstantiated allegations, such as his masterminding of the seizure of the American hostages in Iran, or his attempts to eliminate three obstacles (Brzezinski, John Paul II, Walesa) to Soviet military action in Poland. The sketchy notes on sources added at the end of the book do not entirely remove doubts and questions. The authors are journalists who, until 1977, lived and wrote in the U.S.S.R.