by Armand Hammer with Neil Lyndon
Putnam; 544 pages; $22.95
Armand Hammer's memoir of his 88 tumultuous years begins near the end, with accounts of his part in 1986 negotiations to clear the way for U.S. physicians to help Chernobyl's victims, and then in freeing hostage U.S. Journalist Nicholas Daniloff and a would-be Soviet emigre, Geneticist David Goldfarb. These incidents demonstrate his unusual role as a back-channel conduit between U.S. and Soviet officials. They also reflect the pragmatic approach Hammer takes toward the Soviets, his business partners on and off since the early 1920s. Readers will search in vain for...