Across the Moscow River The World Turned Upside Down Rodric Braithwaite

Publication date:
09 Jul 2013
Yale University Press
384 pages: 235 x 156mm

Rodric Braithwaite was British ambassador to Moscow during the critical years of perestroika and the collapse of the Soviet Union, the failed coup of August 1991, and the rise of Boris Yeltsin. With his long experience of Russia, on good personal terms with Mikhail Gorbachev, he was in a privileged position close to the center of Russia’s changing relationship with the West.

This frank and engrossing book gives an intimate account of momentous change and the people who drove it. As the Soviet Empire fell apart a demoralized army crept home from Afghanistan, Eastern Europe, and the outlying parts of the Soviet Union itself. Against the opposition of the generals, Gorbachev and his allies struggled to modernize and democratize a system that had already reached the point of terminal decay. The apex of the drama came in August 1991 when a gang of generals, politicians, and secret policemen sought—by storming Moscow’s White House—to reverse the course of history.

Rodric Braithwaite was based in Moscow from September 1988 to May 1992. He retains business and educational interests in Russia.

Selected by Choice Magazine as an Outstanding Academic Title for 2003

“A rare, valuable, and immensely readable contribution to our understanding of one of the epochal events of the twentieth century.”—Strobe Talbott

“This extremely interesting, truthful, and honest book gives an objective and dramatic picture of Russia. If others in the West had understood my country as profoundly as Rodric Braithwaite does, history would have treated us all more kindly.”—Mikhail Gorbachev