Drawing on his own diary as well as secret documents and transcripts of high-level meetings, Anatoly Chernyaev recounts the drama that swept the Soviet Union between 1985 and 1991. As Gorbachev’s chief foreign policy aide for most of that period, he played a central role in efforts to halt the arms race, discard a confrontational ideology, and open his country to the world. And as Gorbachev’s confidant on many domestic issues as well, Chernyaev offers rare insights into the struggle over glasnost, the growth of separatism, and the rise of Boris Yeltsin. While admiring of perestroika’s founder, Chernyaev is frank in faulting Gorbachev for his hesitancy in economic reforms, for his delay in decentralizing Union-republic ties, and above all for his misplaced faith in the reformability of the Communist Party. Altogether this book is essential reading for those interested in the Cold War’s end, the USSR’s collapse, and especially the role played by ideas, ambitions, and key personalities in these momentous events.