Gorbachev: His Life and Times

Front cover of the book Gorbachev: His Life and Times

FINALIST, NATIONAL BOOK CRITICS CIRCLE AWARD FOR BIOGRAPHY

“A masterpiece of narrative scholarship.”
Strobe Talbott, New York Review of Books

“Masterly….[This] richly layered portrait….will surely stand as the definitive English-language chronicle of this most intriguing figure for many years to come.
-Peter Baker, New York Times Book Review

“Superb…. Enlightening…. [A]n extraordinary story of one man and history in a tense wrestling match.
– David E. Hoffman, The Washington Post

“Taubman… has written by far the best biographies of both [Khrushchev and Gorbachev]…. He… tells a superbly researched story of a politician of such decency as to seem, in our more pessimistic, darker moment, almost beyond imagining.”
The New Yorker

Photo of the author in conversation with Mikhail Gorbachev at the Gorbachev Foundation, Moscow, May 2007

The author in conversation with Mikhail Gorbachev at the Gorbachev Foundation, Moscow, May 2007. Photo © Phoebe Taubman

William Taubman’s extraordinary new biography, Gorbachev: His Life and Times, is fly-on-the-wall history…. A riveting page-turner….
[H]is book is anything but a solemn academic tome. It’s gripping.
– Mark Katkov, NPR

“Fascinating, perceptive and compelling. . .[a] magisterial book.”
Nicholas Burns, The Boston Globe

A meticulously researched, clear-eyed volume that will undoubtedly stand for years as the definitive account of the Soviet Union’s last ruler.
– Max Boot, Wall Street Journal

Photo of the author at the Gorbachev Foundation with Mikhail Gorbachev and Prof. Jane Taubman, May 2007

The author at the Gorbachev Foundation with Mikhail Gorbachev and Prof. Jane Taubman, May 2007. Photo © Phoebe Taubman

[H]is astounding synthesis of interviews, archival sources, memoirs and press reports presents an all-too-human story….
– Roland Elliott Brown, Toronto Globe and Mail

Nobody before Taubman has achieved an in-depth psychological portrait…. [T]his monumental biography will become the standard personal portrait. Taubman has charmed more out of [Gorbachev] than any of his subordinates ever managed to.
– Robert Service, Literary Review

“[A] massive and masterly biography.”
-Geoffrey Hosking, The Times Literary Supplement

“This book often reads like a Robert Ludlum thriller. Bonus: as Henry Kissinger famously said in another context, ‘It has the added advantage of being true.'”
Ralph Benko, Forbes

The research is vast; the tracking down of published and unpublished sources is tireless. The willingness of sometimes reluctant individuals to talk – family, old staffers, half-forgotten comrades from the early days – represents many triumphs of tact and patience.
Neal Ascherson, London Review of Books

Photo of Mikhail Gorbachev checking a fact in his memoir during a meeting with the author, May 2007

Mikhail Gorbachev checking a fact in his memoir during a meeting with the author, May 2007. Photo © Phoebe Taubman

“It is, like Taubman’s Pulitzer Prize-winning biography of Khrushchev (2003), a stunning achievement, packed with lively and engrossing stories chronicled on the basis of extensive research.”
Barbara  Keys, Australian Book Review

“Comprehensive… immensely readable… applies a Tolstoyan lens to Russia’s recent history.”
The Economist

A phenomenally researched life of the man who did more than any other to change Europe and the world in the last half of the 20th century.”
-Jonathan Steele, The Guardian

Sympathetic in his judgments yet clear-eyed in his criticisms, Taubman has rendered Gorbachev in a vast and complex portrait that will be the standard for years to come.
– Michael O’Donnell, Washington Monthly

“[A] deeply penetrating history and engrossing psychological study…. -Robert Legvold, Foreign Affairs

This will be one of the two or three best books of the year, compulsively readable, fun, and informative all at once.
– Tyler Cowan, marginalrevolution.com

 

U.S. Publisher: WW Norton
ISBN:978-0-393-32484-6
Publication date: September 5, 2017
Price: $39.95 hardcover
Page count: 928
See information for buyers in British Commonwealth

What you can do:

  1. For information on Bill Taubman’s public appearances to discuss the book, see Coming events.
  2. To buy the book: click here for bookseller links
  3. Have you read the book? Post a review on your bookseller’s site, or at Goodreads.

About the photos:

All photos are © Phoebe Taubman (2007), with exception of the following:

  1. Images of book covers
  2. Header photo of Moscow skyline including Kremlin (randomly displayed), by Dmitry Azovtsev, under Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 unported license. Photo accessed via Wikimedia Commons.