Books: Hot Red

THE MAN WHO CHANGED THE WORLD: THE LIVES OF MIKHAIL S. GORBACHEV

by Gail Sheehy

HarperCollins; 416 pages; $22.95

If it is not an old Russian proverb, it should be: When skating on thin ice, move quickly. Like Gail Sheehy, who has learned some fast footwork and slick maneuvers during her career as a New Journalist and pop psychologist. Her biography of the Soviet leader marks Sheehy's debut as a pop political scientist.

Sheehy has the sort of drive and self-confidence that must have impressed her gloomy Soviet hosts. Like a laptop Barbara Walters, she attempts to bag "top" officials, those...

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