Gorbachev's New Book Offers Preview of Summit

The new book by Mikhail S. Gorbachev, "Perestroika: Our Hopes for Our Nation and the World," is the bold manifesto of a Soviet leader who may be launching a second Soviet revolution, Times staff writer Robert Scheer reports in a review on the front page of today's Book Review.

Writing from Moscow, where he obtained an early copy of the book that will be published in the United States later this week, Scheer says the book links the resolution of the Soviet Union's543453037Soviets' Cold War policy and offers the deepest insight yet available into what Gorbachev hopes to achieve at the Dec. 7 summit with President Reagan.

Perestroika --the Russian word for reconstruction--is Gorbachev's response to what he calls the "absurd situation" of the world's leading steel producer suffering steel shortages and the world's largest grain grower suffering grain shortages.

"Our rockets can find Halley's Comet and fly to Venus with amazing accuracy," Gorbachev writes, "but side by side with these scientific and technological triumphs is an obvious lack of efficiency in using scientific achievements for economic needs. . . . "

Gorbachev links perestroika to his policy of glasnost , or openness, and says that without this openness, the economic reforms will fail. In brief, Gorbachev says, "We need broad democratization of all aspects of society."

To pursue this transformation of Soviet life, Gorbachev also writes, the Soviet Union requires peace with the United States. "We are saying openly for all to hear: We need lasting peace in order to concentrate on the development of our society and to cope with the tasks of improving the life of the Soviet people."

Can Gorbachev achieve his goals? Scheer finds some Soviet citizens skeptical about whether he can but none doubtful about whether he intends to try. What stands in his way, more than anything else, is an entrenched Soviet elite all too well-served by the status quo.

Copyright © 2019, Los Angeles Times
EDITION: California | U.S. & World