Against the Grain
Seldom has a man so close to the center of power written so openly about his country, his society, and its leaders. But Boris Yeltsin is not cut from the mold of typical politicians – and especially not of typical Soviet politicians. Yeltsin's outspoken criticism of the inadequacies of perestroika and of Mikhail Gorbachev has received international attention. His attacks have been so vehement and relentless that, in 1987, Gorbachev had him removed from the Politburo and the Party. But Yeltsin's dismissal only added to his popularity, and in 1989, he was elected as a delegate to the People's Parliament by a staggering 89 percent of the electorate. Against the Grain is the exhilarating story of Boris Yeltsin's rise and fall – and rise again – and of his unending battle to improve the quality of life for his people.
Born in the Russian heartland near the Ural mountains, Yeltsin experienced the hardships of the Soviet system firsthand. Raised in a communal hut with twenty other families, Yeltsin and his family suffered through season after season of bad harvests and scarce food supplies. Despite these difficulties, Yeltsin excelled in school and, at the time of his graduation from engineering college, he delayed his appointment as a manager, choosing instead to spend a year learning the jobs of the people he would eventually oversee. His success as an engineer attracted the local Party and he was appointed a district representative. Yeltsin made an immediate impact: the communal huts planned for elimination in ten years were removed in a year; chronic food shortages were ended throughout his region.
Yeltsin, B. N. Against the Grain : an autobiography / Boris Yeltsin ; transl. by Michael Glenny ; Originally published in Russian as Ispoved' na Zadannuiy Temu. – 1st ed. – N.Y. : Summit Books, . – 263 p. + , ill. – ISBN 0–671–70055–3