Archie Brown is Emeritus Professor of Politics at the University of Oxford, a Fellow of the British Academy, and an International Honorary Member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. He is the author of numerous books on the former Soviet Union and its demise, including The Gorbachev Factor (1996, also published by Oxford University Press) and The Rise and Fall of Communism (2009), both of which won both the Alec Nove Prize and the Political Studies Association's W.J.M. Mackenzie Prize for best politics book of the year. A leading authority on Mikhail Gorbachev, he was the first person to draw Margaret Thatcher's attention to Gorbachev (at a 1983 Chequers seminar) as a reform-minded likely future Soviet leader.
A fascinating and instructive read ... Everybody will learn something from this first-class book. * Dominic Sandbrook, The Sunday Times * A masterly survey of the end of the cold war and the roles played in it by Gorbachev, Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher. * Tony Barber, The Financial Times * Lucidly written and scholarly. * The Spectator * In The Human Factor, Brown zooms out from analyzing Soviet decision-making and asks a broader question about why the Cold War ended. Scholars have proposed multiple explanations for the Cold War's end... but Brown encourages readers to focus on the personalities at the top of both the Soviet party-state and Western governments. * Chris Miller, The Russian Review * It is often a challenge for historians to find the right balance between the human factor and the historical forces at play. The value of Archie Brown's study [...] is that it does precisely that. * Christopher Coker, Literary Review * What The Human Factor does do, and does so well, is provide a fascinating new perspective on already well-trodden ground. * All About History * Brown devotes several fine-grained biographical chapters to the making of Gorbachev, the rise of Reagan, and the moulding of the Iron Lady , and then traces the three leaders interactions... The result is a compelling picture of what led [them] to act as they did and how the difference each one made differed from the impact of the others. * William Taubman, The Political Quarterly * The book is crammed with information, is well-written, and shows that Brown has a dry sense of humour. * SCRSS Newsletter * Here and elsewhere, as he once did for the leaders about whom he now writes, Archie Brown's scholarship can provide wisdom and hope. * James Graham Wilson, H-DIPLO * Another tour de force from Archie Brown: detailed scholarship, elegant prose and a clear argument. Read this book to find why we should not ignore the human factor underpinning great historical shifts. A fascinating account of how the Cold War ended, explored through the personal interactions between three world leaders - Gorbachev, Reagan and Thatcher. * Bridget Kendall MBE, former BBC Diplomatic Moscow and Washington Correspondent *