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By Michael Dobbs

As Washington put up correspondent in Moscow, Warsaw, and Yugoslavia within the ultimate decade of the Soviet empire, Michael Dobbs had a ringside seat to the extreme occasions that ended in the unraveling of the Bolshevik Revolution. From Tito's funeral to the beginning of unity within the Gda´nsk shipyard, from the tragedy of Tiananmen sq. to Boris Yeltsin status on a tank within the heart of Moscow, Dobbs observed it all.

The fall of communism was once one of many nice human dramas of our century, as nice a drama because the unique Bolshevik revolution. Dobbs met just about all of the relevant actors, together with Mikhail Gorbachev, Lech Walesa, Václav Havel, and Andrei Sakharov. With a sweeping command of the topic and the fervour and verve of an eyewitness, he paints an unforgettable portrait of the last decade during which the wide-spread and doubtless petrified chilly struggle world--the global of Checkpoint Charlie and Dr. Strangelove--vanished eternally.

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Moreover, because fiction often appeared in periodicals, references in memoirs to novel reading are sometimes tantamount to references to journal reading and will occasionally be discussed without direct mention of periodicals. Ω My motive in adapting the phrase is to emphasize that even before the 1830s there appears to have been a larger public than we are often led to think. ∞≠ Students of the history of readership in general will be aware of the difficulties presented by the paucity of primary data.

I. Esin, Istoriia russkoi zhurnalistiki XIX v. (Moscow, 1989); Gary Marker, Publishing, Printing, and the Origins of Intellectual Life in Russia, 1700–1800 (Princeton, 1985); Louise McReynolds, The News under Russia’s Old Regime: The Development of a Mass-Circulation Press (Princeton, 1991); Charles Ruud, Russian Entrepreneur: Publisher Ivan Sytin of Moscow, 1851–1934 (Montreal and Kingston, 1990); Mark Steinberg, Moral Communities: The Culture of Class Relations in the Russian Printing Industry, 1867–1907 (Berkeley, 1992).

See, for example, Nikolai Novikov’s Modnoe ezhemesiachnoe izdanie, ili Biblioteka dlia damskogo tualeta (1779) and Aglaia, which came out in two variants. N. M. Karamzin edited Aglaia, a yearly almanac that appeared in 1794–1795 and 1796; P. Shalikov published Aglaia, a 20 jehanne m gheith monthly journal, from 1808 to 1810 (and a further six issues in 1812). For the early nineteenth century, see also Zhurnal dlia milykh (1804) and Damskii zhurnal (1823–1833). 9 Although the Russian soslovie (plural sosloviia) does not translate cleanly into Western understandings of class or estates, ‘‘estates’’ gives the closest approximation to the legal divisions in Russian society.

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