2014. Reprint. A fine, as new copy that is now in a protective cover.
On Christmas Day 1991 Mikhail Gorbachev resigned as president of the Soviet Union. By the next day the USSR was officially no more and the USA had emerged as the world's sole superpower. Award-winning historian Serhii Plokhy presents a page-turning account of the preceding five months of drama, filled with failed coups d'etat and political intrigue. Honing in on this previously disregarded but crucial period and using recently declassified documents and original interviews with key participants, he shatters the established myths of 1991 and presents a bold new interpretation of the Soviet Union's final months. Plokhy argues that contrary to the triumphalist Western narrative, George H. W. Bush desperately wanted to preserve the Soviet Union and keep Gorbachev in power, and that it was Ukraine and not the US that played the key role in the collapse of the Soviet Union. The consequences of those five months and the myth-making that has since surrounded them are still being felt in Crimea, Russia, the US, and Europe today.
With its spellbinding narrative and strikingly fresh perspective, The Last Empire is the essential account of one of the most important watershed periods in world history, and is indispensable reading for anyone seeking to make sense of international politics today.
'In this highly original reanalysis, drawing on rarely used sources scattered from Texas to Ukraine, Serhii Plokhy gives us a whole new perspective on the Fall of the Soviet Union. Did the USA really 'win' the Cold War, he asks - or did democracy undo the Soviet Empire from the inside?' -- Ian Morris, Professor of History at Stanford University and author of Why the West Rules - For Now 'Gripping, vivid and incisive - essential reading for anyone wanting to counter modern Russian myth-making about the Soviet collapse.' -- Edward Lucas, senior editor at the Economist and author of The New Cold War 'Indispensable. At last, a definitive account of the breakup of the USSR: for the first time, Serhii Plokhy tells the story not just from the point of view of Moscow, and not from Washington, but also from Ukraine and the other republics where many of the most important decisions were actually made. If you don't understand what really happened in 1991, then you'll find it impossible to understand the politics of the region today.' -- Anne Applebaum, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Gulag: A History 'A brilliant work of political narrative: vivid, original, urgent and, above all, wise. Serhii Plokhy's dramatic account of the high politics behind the collapse of the Soviet Union could not be more timely. In the context of what many see as a new Cold War between Russia and the West, it is crucial that we understand what really happened in 1991.' -- Rachel Polonsky, author of Molotov's Magic Lantern: Travels in Russian History 'By far our best account yet of the death spiral of the USSR. Serhii Plokhy's fine book combines a colorful, fast-paced narrative with trenchant analysis of key players in the Soviet collapse.' -- William Taubman, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Khrushchev: The Man and His Era 'A masterful account of the end of the Soviet Union. The narrative tale alone, enriched by reams of new evidence, makes it well worth reading for anyone interested in the making of the contemporary world. But The Last Empire is equally notable for its penetrating analysis. It is particularly revealing on the contradictions built into US policy and on the contributions to the outcome of the many nations of the USSR, including the Ukrainians, whose pivotal role has often been neglected in previous studies.' -- Timothy Colton, Professor of Government at Harvard University and author of Yeltsin: A Life 'Masterful... Provocatively places Ukrainian independence as the central factor in the Soviet Union's collapse. Gripping reading, full of surprises and revelations for everyone, especially on the American role in this revolutionary event.' -- Vladislav Zubok, Professor of International History at the London School of Economics
Serhii Plokhy is the Mykhailo Hrushevsky Professor of Ukrainian History at Harvard University and a leading authority on Soviet history. He has won the first prize of the American Association for Ukrainian Studies three times, and his book Yalta: The Price of Peace won the Ukrainian National Women's League of America Book Prize and was shortlisted for the Lionel Gelber Foundation Prize. He lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts.