Present At The Collapse

TITLE: LENIN'S TOMB: THE LAST DAYS OF THE SOVIET EMPIRE

AUTHOR: DAVID REMNICK

PUBLISHER: RANDOM HOUSE; 576 PAGES; $25

THE BOTTOM LINE: Great journalism answers Lenin's question: Who did what to whom?

During the astonishing, bewildering years when the Russians were dismantling their steel-clad Eurasian empire, David Remnick was not content to be an eyewitness to history. He waded into it, hip deep, and interviewed hundreds of politicians, generals, intellectuals and workers. Remnick, then a Washington Post correspondent, now at the New Yorker, saw his job as going where the action was, talking with the key figures and checking out the...

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