Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev and U.S. President Ronald Reagan, 1986.

Of Gorbachev, and of Writing About Gorbachev

March 28, 2018
Center for Strategic and International Studies
This podcast originally appeared on the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) website.

In a historically-minded episode of Russian Roulette, CSIS Russia and Eurasia Program experts Olga Oliker and Jeffrey Mankoff sit down with William Taubman. Taubman is the Bertrand Snell Professor Emeritus of Political Science at Amherst College and the author of several books, including a biography of Nikita Khrushchev that won the Pulitzer Prize for biography in 2004, and, most recently, a biography of Mikhail Gorbachev.
 
The three discuss Gorbachev: who and what inspired him, his political trajectory through the Communist Party and how his personal traits both enabled and undermined his success and his historical role—as well as the importance of individuals to history. They also delve into Taubman's research and writing, including how he came to write this biography, some of the challenges he faced in writing it and the evolution of his own relationship with Gorbachev over the course of many interviews.

Photo by the U.S. government shared in the public domain. 

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