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They’re just not ready

Neal Ascherson: Gorbachev Betrayed

7 January 2010
Uncivil Society: 1989 and the Implosion of the Communist Establishment 
by Stephen Kotkin, with Jan Gross.
Modern Library, 240 pp., $24, October 2009, 978 0 679 64276 3
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Revolution 1989: The Fall of the Soviet Empire 
by Victor Sebestyen.
Weidenfeld, 451 pp., £25, July 2009, 978 0 297 85223 0
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There Is No Freedom without Bread: 1989 and the Civil War that Brought Down Communism 
by Constantine Pleshakov.
Farrar, Straus, 289 pp., $26, November 2009, 978 0 374 28902 7
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1989: The Struggle to Create Post-Cold War Europe 
by Mary Elise Sarotte.
Princeton, 321 pp., £20.95, November 2009, 978 0 691 14306 4
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... Ossis, plundering the economy, abolishing an unlovely but familiar way of life, and leaving behind them deep-seated resentment that soon took political form. Much the most exciting of these books is MaryEliseSarotte’s 1989. In contrast to the other authors, Sarotte treats the uprisings and collapses of that year as a prelude to the biggest change of all: ‘the struggle to create post-Cold War ...

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