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The Last Empire


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Table of Contents

"Empire Strikes Back:" A Foreword to the Paperback Edition Maps Introduction I. The Last Summit 1. Meeting in Moscow 2. The Party Crasher 3. Chicken Kiev II. The Tanks of August 4. The Prisoner of the Crimea 5. The Russian Rebel 6. Freedom's Victory III. A Countercoup 7. The Resurgence of Russia 8. Independent Ukraine 9. Saving the Empire IV. Soviet Disunion 10. Washington's Dilemma 11. The Russian Ark 12. The Survivor V. Vox Populi 13. Anticipation 14. The Ukrainian Referendum 15. The Slavic Trinity VI. Farewell to the Empire 16. Out of the Woods 17. The Birth of Eurasia 18. Christmas in Moscow Epilogue Acknowledgments Notes Index

About the Author

Serhii Plokhy is the Mykhailo Hrushevsky Professor of Ukrainian History and director of the Ukrainian Research Institute at Harvard University. An award-winning author, Plokhy lives in Arlington, Massachusetts.


Winner of the 2015 Pushkin House Russian Book Prize Wall Street Journal "A stirring account of an extraordinary moment...what elevates The Last Empire from solid history to the must-read shelf is its relevance to the current crisis." Financial Times "A fine-grained, closely reported, highly readable account of the upheavals of 1991." Slate "Serhii Plokhy's extraordinarily well-timed new book...makes a convincing case that contrary to the triumphalist American narrative of Cold War victory, or the more recent paranoid Russian narrative of Cold War defeat, the U.S. never anticipated the breakup of the Soviet Union--in fact, the U.S. tried to use what little influence it had over the situation to prevent it... Plokhy makes a convincing case that the misplaced triumphalism of the senior Bush's administration led to the disastrous hubris of his son's." Telegraph, UK "A fascinating and readable deep dive into the final half-year of the Soviet Union." Spectator, UK "[A] superb work of scholarship, vividly written, that challenges tired old assumptions with fresh material from East and West, as well as revealing interviews with many major players." Pittsburg Tribune-Review "Especially provocative given current affairs, this book doesn't dismiss U.S. Cold War policy's contributions but contends the USSR fell mainly because of its imperial nature, ethnic mix and political structure, with the inability of Russia and Ukraine, the biggest Soviet republics, to agree on continuing unity as the straw that broke the Soviet camel's back." Ukrainian Weekly "A meticulously documented chronicle of the evil empire's demise... [Plokhy]is the voice Ukrainians have been yearning for." Library Journal, Starred Review "Plokhy's cleanly written narrative presents a clear view of the complex events and numerous parties involved in the Soviet Union's demise as well as the reasons that the Soviet government could not ultimately rein in Ukrainian and Russian national movements. VERDICT: Plokhy's fine scholarship should be set alongside such great works as David Remnick's Lenin's Tomb and Vladislav M. Zubok's A Failed Empire. An excellent text for historians, students of current events, and anyone fascinated with political intrigue." Publishers Weekly "One of a rare breed: a well-balanced, unbiased book written on the fall of Soviet Union that emphasizes expert research and analysis." Sunday Times, UK "[An] incisive account of the five months leading up to the Union's dissolution... His vibrant, fast-paced narrative style captures the story superbly." Mail on Sunday, UK "Our memories of the upheavals of 1989-91 blur into one picture, with the Soviet collapse indistinguishable from the fall of the Berlin Wall, the death of communism and the end of the Cold War. Now along comes Serhii Plohky...to bring part of that historical blur into focus in a day-by-day account of the Soviet empire's final five months... Plohky's account of the coup is a riveting thriller..." Literary Review, UK "Almost a day-by-day, blow-by-blow account of the actions and reactions of the main figures... Very relevant to today's Ukrainian crisis...The dramatic events of the second half of 1991 are very well recounted." Times of London, UK "Serhii Plokhy's great achievement in this wonderfully well-written account is to show that much of the triumphalist transatlantic view of the Soviet collapse is historiographical manure."

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