In This Review

Hostage to Revolution: Gorbachev and Soviet Security Policy, 1985-1991
Hostage to Revolution: Gorbachev and Soviet Security Policy, 1985-1991
By Coit D. Blacker
Council on Foreign Relations Press, 1993, 239 pp
Purchase

When Blacker wrote most of this book, he had meant it to be a broad, basic and accessible survey of how much the Soviet superpower adversary's approach to military power and national defense had changed. He had not meant to write a history. But so it turned out, and here the reader will find the first comprehensive account of one of the most stunning turnabouts in a great power's attitude toward arms and war in the twentieth century. Blacker has melded into a single, elegantly simple account all the strands: the changing concepts of security, the link to foreign policy, shifts in the approach to arms control, and the troubled civil-military relationship. Blacker's book is not the last word on why all the change took place. (He settles for the obvious but incomplete explanation: "The economy, stupid.") But he tells an important story that may have slipped by many of us in the hurricane of events.