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North Castle Books

Russia at the Barricades: Eyewitness Accounts of the August 1991 Coup
Edited by: Victoria E. Bonnell; Ann Cooper; Gregory Freidin

Cloth ISBN: 978-1-56324-271-7 Paper ISBN: 978-1-56324-272-4
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USD: $101.95 USD: $32.95
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Available to all countries
Information: 392pp. Map, chronology, photographs, index.
Publication Date: May 1994.  


Description: On August 19, 1991, eight high-ranking Soviet officials took over the government of the USSR and proclaimed themselves its new rulers. Less than seventy-two hours later, their coup had collapsed, but it would change the course of history in a way that no one--certainly not the plotters themselves--could have foreseen.

The editors of this volume, who had the good fortune to witness these momentous events, have assembled firsthand accounts of the attempted coup. They include testimonies from many points of view--those of "junta" members and military officers, resistance leaders and ordinary citizens, both Muscovites and residents of other locales, Russian and foreign journalists, foreign visitors and returning TmigrTs--as well as key documents and photographs. The kaleidoscopic result brings to life, and records for posterity, three days that shook the world.

Comment(s): "A valuable contribution to contemporary history. The editors have assembled dramatic eyewitness accounts of one of the most dramatic events of the 20th century. Any serious student of the collapse of communism and the birth of the new Russia will find useful material in this book ... probably the most detailed English-language account yet published of these remarkable events." -- Michael Dobbs, former Moscow bureau chief, The Washington Post

"A treasure chest of the elements of the August 1991 Coup, rich in anecdotal detail and filled with insights into the character and motivations of the villains and heroes. Clearly organized and well edited, it is essential reading for anyone interested in the catalytic event that brought on the disintegration of the Soviet Union." -- Jerrold L. Schecter, former Moscow bureau chief, Time-Life

Review(s): "This edition by two Americans and an expatriate ... has much to offer, providing various snapshots from a `variety of points of view.' An impressive minute-by-minute chronology is also provided." -- Library Journal

"A goldmine of information about Russia's aborted coup in August 1991. ... A valuable collection of documents and eyewitness accounts. ... Particularly fascinating are the 19 testimonies from diverse eyewitness sources who describe the confusion, indignation, excitement, hope, and fear that dominated Moscow at the time. These accounts are accompanied by 27 candid photographs that are equally absorbing. This book will be of value to scholars and will appeal to anyone interested in Russian politics or history. All levels." -- Choice

"Offers the Western reader a collection of documents essential for understanding the dynamics and implications of the coup. The materials relating to the anti-coup resistance in Moscow and St. Petersburg are useful for highlighting the mass opposition (even if often passive or belated) to the neo-Stalinist counterrevolution. ... Non-expert readers who want to understand what happened can glean important background information and ... some analysis here." -- Orbis

"Well-translated and edited, [these papers] are the genuine voices of the times, full of passion, anecdote and sincerity. ... The editors have set out to capture the texture of the times, and in this they have had some real success. ... An excellent collection of sources, many of which are not conveniently available. For research it has some value, but above all it is a great aid to teaching the events of August 1991, a vital compendium of the opinions and experiences of a whole array of heroes, rogues, opportunists and bystanders." -- The Slavonic Review

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