In This Review

The Sixth Continent: Mikhail Gorbachev And The Soviet Union
The Sixth Continent: Mikhail Gorbachev And The Soviet Union
By Mark Frankland
Harper & Row, 1987, 292 pp

In one of the better recent books on the Soviet Union, a former Moscow correspondent of the London Observer concentrates on the crisis of leadership and the politics of the successions following Brezhnev, and in the process gives an informal but informed picture of the system's flaws and troubles that made reform seem so necessary. The importance of Andropov's brief reign, opening as it did the way for the Gorbachev reforms, comes through clearly. Since much of the internal struggle remains obscure, the author fills in with stories that made the rounds in Moscow (and with speculation of his own here and there), but his account generally rings true and is well worth reading even by those surfeited with recent literature on Gorbachev.