Like a Viennese Dobboschtorte this is a confection of tasty layers, each chapter of narrative and commentary by Chiesa being followed by a dialogue between him and Medvedev. Chiesa has been for years the Moscow correspondent of L'Unita, the Italian Communist Party newspaper, and Medvedev is a distinguished Soviet historian, authority on Stalinism, critic of the Brezhnev regime and present member of the new Supreme Soviet. Basically it is Chiesa's book. His is the work of exposition of the main developments from 1986 through 1989, and he feeds the leading questions to Medvedev. But both have much to contribute in their judgments on the debates and struggles within the leadership and the party as perestroika proceeds. The stream of events flows with astonishing speed; the agenda of 1989 included issues and decisions far beyond those envisaged in 1986. The reader will be carried along on it and will profit from the experience.