Winter is Coming

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I found this book to be well written, thought out and thoroughly researched. Garry Kasparov presents his case very well on why Putin must be opposed. He also presents, what I found, to be a well-balanced perspective on how the present situation in Russia evolved.  

To me, this was a particularly interesting read, since I came from Ukraine. I've partaken in countless family discussions about the evils of the present Russian regime, and have argued with those who support it. I found the facts pointed out in the book to be in line with what I have been reading in news articles, as I've loosely followed this topic. I also found the book to accurately reflect my own family's experience. I also found it reflective of the same message often echoed by Sam Harris - that engagement with dictatorial regimes often result in the victimization of their

In spite of his involvement in Russian history, Mr. Kasparov provides a well balanced view.  He is simultaneously critical, and understanding of the western world's apathy towards the Putin regime. Several times, he even criticizes his own prior actions and words when the events he writes about were unfolding. I enjoyed this introspection. 

That being said, there is one particular assertion of the author with which I disagree.

Mr. Kasparov asserts that, prior to the Bush 41 era, American foreign policy was based on principles. He argues that we stood up to the Soviets because it was the right thing to do. While I do agree that we stood up to the Soviets, I do not agree that American foreign policy was ever rooted in principles or moral superiority. 

While I don't want to go into particular details at length in this review, I will say that any serious student of history will recognize our country's foreign policy has always been to protect American interests first. If we could align ourselves with a democratic government to accomplish this - great! But if we had to align ourselves with a despot - well also great! Whatever gets the job done. 

I'd like to convey that my interest here is not to argue whether this was right or wrong. Rather, I am criticizing one of the key tenets of the author's argument for American action.

In terms of length, the book could have been shorter, but not by much. I listened to it as an audio book. It was about 10 hours long. I feel like it could have been about 8-9. There were a few times where I found the material to be repetitive and had to amp up to double speed. 

All in all, I would recommend this book to anyone interested in the period of Russian history from the post-USSR collapse to present-day. It's definitely a worthwhile read.