Books: A New Faith

GORBACHEV by Dusko Doder and Louise Branson

Viking; 450 pages; $24.95

"I am a communist, a convinced communist. For some that may be fantasy but for me it is my main goal." For those who follow the travails of Mikhail Gorbachev, that forthright credo, proclaimed last December, is increasingly shadowed by questions of apostasy. Is this guardian of Marxism really a true believer or the architect of a final loss of faith?

That paramount question of our times underlies a new biography by Dusko Doder and Louise Branson, who served in Moscow for the Washington Post and the London Sunday Times...