Apr 20, 2021
Moscow, December 25th, 1991
Posted by Conor O'Clery

The implosion of the Soviet Union was the culmination of a gripping game played out between two men who intensely disliked each other and had different concepts for the future Mikhail Gorbachev, a sophisticated and urbane reformer, sought to modernize and preserve the USSR Boris Yeltsin, a coarse and a hard drinking bulldozer, wished to destroy the union and create a caThe implosion of the Soviet Union was the culmination of a gripping game played out between two men who intensely disliked each other and had different concepts for the future Mikhail Gorbachev, a sophisticated and urbane reformer, sought to modernize and preserve the USSR Boris Yeltsin, a coarse and a hard drinking bulldozer, wished to destroy the union and create a capitalist Russia The defeat of the August 1991 coup attempt, carried out by hardline communists, shook Gorbachev s authority and was a triumph for Yeltsin But it took four months of intrigue and double dealing before the Soviet Union collapsed and the day arrived when Yeltsin could hustle Gorbachev out of the Kremlin, and move in as ruler of Russia.Conor O Clery has written a unique and truly suspenseful thriller of the day the Soviet Union died The internal power plays, the shifting alliances, the betrayals, the mysterious three colonels carrying the briefcase with the nuclear codes, and the jockeying to exploit the future are worthy of John Le Carr or Alan Furst The Cold War s last act was a magnificent dark drama played out in the shadows of the Kremlin.

  • Title: Moscow, December 25th, 1991
  • Author: Conor O'Clery
  • ISBN: 9781586487966
  • Page: 223
  • Format: Hardcover
  • Moscow December th The implosion of the Soviet Union was the culmination of a gripping game played out between two men who intensely disliked each other and had different concepts for the future Mikhail Gorbachev a sop


    Conor O Clery s Moscow 25 Decem ber 1991 fol lows a not ably grow ing trend for pick ing a pivot point in his tory and revolving round it to find a pop u lar audi ence wit ness 1066, 1421, 1434, 1491, 1492 etc All good books by and large but adopt ing a very sim ilar tact The date provides a recog niz able focus and then the space is open for provide the back ground and the after math in a pop u lar fash ion O Clery breaks the mold though in a most enga ging fash ion with the book I am always in [...]

    John Carter McKnight

    An excellent journalistic account of the end of the USSR, using the day of Gorbachev s resignation as a frame for examining the last few years of his rule Fast paced but never shallow, O Clery gives a first hand account of the final day s events, contextualizing them well The end of the USSR is one of history s extraordinary stories, and O Clery spins it out as a tale of unintended consequences, personality conflicts, and habits of public obeisance and private back stabbing developed over the c [...]


    I lived through these events and still had no idea of the scope of the problems and infighting that occurred Having young children at the time will be my excuse, but to my shame I have no recollection of the events of Dec 25, 1991, the day the Soviet Union dissolved The material was very well presented in a way that carried you along in real time while fitting in the background facts without being a distraction.

    Karl Hafer, Jr.

    Documenting the end of the Cold War has become a kind of cottage industry Most accounts have focused on how it was won by the west but few look behind the iron curtain and into the political morass within the USSR in it s dying months It is still difficult to believe that a conflict posing the distinct possibility of global extinction hanging over the heads of an entire generation ended with the stroke of a pen There is much to it than that and O Cleary documents the dynamic personalities surro [...]


    O Clery was an American journalist stationed in Moscow for years as such, he s adept at identifying popular trends and themes current at the moment of historical change He reports on the jokes as well has headlines I wasn t sure about the structure of the book, with chapters alternating between present tense reportage of day by day events leading up to the dissolution of the USSR and between past tense summaries of the years leading up to 1991 Awkward, but thorough.


    An interesting read that flashes back and forth between December 25, 1991, the last official day that the Soviet Union existed as an entity, and the events leading up to the historic moment when the cold war came to an end A very well researched and well written account, O Clery writes this book like a political thriller than a historical account The strongest element of the writing is that O Clery does not engage in hero worship or elevates anyone to larger than life status Instead, he writes [...]


    This was a book in which I didn t think I d be interested I guess I was wrong Talk about gripping and eye opening While the book is technically about the events of one day, it takes us through the background and events leading up to December 25, 1991, including the failed August coup.This is a book about a rivalry between Gorbachev and Yeltsin, in which Yeltsin definitely comes off the worst O Clery lists numerous incidents where Yeltsin broke agreements between him and Gorbachev in the last day [...]


    The entire history of Russia and the Soviet Union is best viewed through the petty personal squabbles of Mikhail Gorgachev and Boris Yeltsin Or at least according to Author Conor O Clery , in Book Moscow, December 25th, 1991 The book is a minute by minute account of the day Gorbachev turned over the country and the nuclear suitcase to Yeltsin, which a few years of background interspersed About halfway through, it got a little tiring hearing quotes from the various assistants complaining that Yel [...]

    Margaret Sankey

    Framed as an exhaustive reconstruction of a single day, this is really a survey of the last three years of the Soviet Union, culminating the rushed signing over of power from Gorbachev to Yeltsin with all the juicy details in between O Clery, a longtime journalist in Russia with family and social ties knows all the little things Putin cutting down flagpoles with a blowtorch, staffers grabbing office supplies, hustling UNESCO jobs for Gorbachev loyalists, Yeltsin s drunken lurch down Pennsylvania [...]

    Michael Flanagan

    An interesting read and behind the scene look at the end the Soviet Union and the people involved in it Even though this book claims to be about the last day of the Soviet Union it also delivers the events leading up to it It does this by cutting the last day into sections and introducing and expanding the events surrounding to this momentous day, it takes us from 1985 through to 1991.All in all this book is a great read that I recommend to one and all it is a highly engaging and entertaining bo [...]

    Brad Wheeler

    A informative, authoritative study of the last years of the Soviet Union, mostly told in flashbacks as they relate to events of the last day Definitely makes the case for both Yeltsin and Gorbachev s pettiness without obviously sympathizing with either Good use of sources, a strong narrative feel, and good narration clinched this one for me.

    Dan Johnson

    A very good account of the final days of the Soviet Union told through the power struggle between Boris Yeltsin and Mikhail Gorbachev Focused on the personal and political differences of each leader and their clashing of egos This book does jump into the last days of the Soviet Union, so it would not hurt to have a fairly decent understanding of the years leading up to this period.


    An interesting book that gives a detailed account of the end of the Soviet Union A fairly easy read, but the time switches between chapters can get confusing at times.


    I m just going to say that I don t think anyone came off well in this Both Gorbachev and Yeltsin seem petty and short sighted in a lot of ways The minutiae in this book is fascinating, though.

    Patrick Bates

    I really enjoyed this book, despite having only a passing knowledge of this period of Russian history prior to reading it The book is a lot easier a read than I thought when buying it.


    What makes this book unique and fascinating is the detailed human depiction of Gorbachev and Yeltsin While most historical works concentrate on facts, dates, and lists of players, this volume speaks of the hidden thoughts, ambitions, desires, fears, and insecurities of the first Soviet and Russian presidents, portraying them as mere people as much as powerful politicians and leaders An easy and captivating read, Moscow, December 25th, 1991, brings human touch and background to one of the most im [...]


    This book offered an interesting take on this historic day, going hour by hour to share the fine details of what happened The final chapter offers an interesting overview of what happened in the two decades following.


    Very informative but my gosh it was like reading a textbook boring as hell If you re into facts and nothing else, then this is definitely a book for you

    Μαρία Κοντού

    A very useful book

    Jeff Scott

    Most of Conor O Clery s book is a sort of denouement of the fall of the Soviet Union All the action happens before the events of the book Even the last day itself is filled with formalities with the end already decided What led to the moment is told in reminiscence, a conversation, an argument, tension, is all explained within this history The story is well written with a journalist s eye that can make the smallest detail very compelling It s much like reading a long New York Times story The det [...]

    Richard Lim

    Moscow, December 25th, 1991 is the riveting account of one of the most important moments in recent history, the fall of the Soviet Union O Clery s well researched book combines a novelist s flair for the dramatic with an awareness of the broader historical significance O Clery takes us through that fateful day when Mikhail Gorbachev formally resigned his post, effectively ending the Soviet empire and changing the world s geopolitical balance overnight Interspersed between the narrative of that d [...]

    Esther Bradley-detally

    I was in Moscow in 1990 on my way to Siberia, Ulan Ude and other places 63 days of touring with a young music group we as the older stable couple went to Ukraine, came in and out of Moscow that s when Soviet Union still in place we were visiting Kiev during the Coup or Putsch, when the beefy 6 or whatever number took over i wrote about it in my book, Without A Net, a Sojourn in Russia, Esther Bradley DeTally, and thus i found it fascinating to read this book.We lived in Dneperpetrovsk sp in Ukra [...]

    Kathleen Hagen

    Moscow, December 25, 1991, The Last Day of the Soviet Union, by Toner O clery, Narrated by Don Hagen, Produced by Gildan Media Corps, Downloaded from audible.This book, practically a saga, is about not only the last day of the Soviet Union, but the two enemies who were the main players in this event The publisher s note explains it well.Mikhail Gorbachev, a sophisticated and urbane reformer, sought to modernize and preserve the USSR Boris Yeltsin, a coarse anda hard drinking bulldozer, wished to [...]


    Moscow, December 25, 1991 is probably great for historians and students of the former Soviet Union, but being neither, it was a little dry for me This is most likely a matter of my initial expectations rather than an actual critique of the writing When someone in the publishing industry reviews a book, they can discuss the quality of the material and the writing style But when I pick up a book, such as this one, it s with a preconceived expectation And if the book doesn t meet that expectation, [...]


    Now that the collapse of the USSR can be viewed with at least some detachment from current events, historical reassessment of this monumental event is overdue O Clery does a masterful job of stitching together the disparate and contradictory stories of what caused this superpower to self destruct The two pivotal characters in the narrative, Gorbachev and Yeltsin, appear here not as caricatures, or as heroes or villains, but as two powerful men with different goals An American parallel between th [...]

    John Reas

    This is an excellent account of the fall and decline of the Soviet empire that Conor O Clery has written The date in the title is the day of Mikhail Gorbachev s resignation as the leader of the Soviet Union when that country, which had been in existence since the fall of the Tsar 70 years earlier, ceased to exist What makes the account even fascinating is the depiction of the bitter rivalry that existed between Boris Yeltsin, Russia s first president following the Soviet Union s demise, and Gor [...]


    This is a very well sourced narrative of the breakup of the Soviet Union, focusing largely on Mikhail Gorbachev s final day in office and the actions of both Gorbachev and his chief rival, Boris Yeltsin I think this results in a human story than one would normally get from a history of Russia and the Soviet Union, with insight into how the men were handling the crisis personally While I think the book is maybe a bit too friendly toward Gorbachev, the author also isn t afraid to show how the So [...]

    Chris Rodgers

    I bought this book because I took my teacher s subject area test and one of the essay questions was about the fall of the Soviet Union and I didn t know enough about the topic to satisfy myself It would have been an incredible book if I d already had the background knowledge I hoped this book contained, but as it stands I was a bit confused coming in with just a passing knowledge of the events Even still it was an interesting read as a personal drama between two men with different viewpoints and [...]

    B Kevin

    This was an interesting behind the scenes look at the end of the Soviet Union, particularly the dislike between Yeltsin and Gorbachev It is not just the last day, but tells of the downfall of the USSR in flashbacks, a literary device I find rather confusing While I enjoyed the book, I probably would have found it very confusing if I did not already know the background Therefore, before you read this I would suggestRevolution 1989 The Fall of the Soviet Empire by Victor Sebestyen or The Cold War [...]


    This was a great narrative of the end of the USSR with its frame and the author s style The names became a bit confusing as O Clery would retell you someone s full name but not their position and due to the sheer number of players involved, I seized trying to follow about half the people for lack of brain space The side stories that relate back to the main one also sometimes branch oddly, but on the whole the main focus on Gorbachev and Yeltsin was clear and powerful.

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