- By Alicia P.Q. WittmeyerAlicia P.Q. Wittmeyer is the Europe editor at Foreign Policy. Her work has appeared in the Los Angeles Times, the Washington Post, and Forbes, among other places. She holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of California, Berkeley, and master’s degrees from Peking University and the London School of Economics. The P.Q. stands for Ping-Quon.
Every day this week, Foreign Policy is featuring an interview with one of the finalists for the Lionel Gelber Prize, a literary award for the year’s best non-fiction book in English on foreign affairs, jointly sponsored by FP and the Munk School of Global Affairs at the University of Toronto. Today’s finalist is Harvard Professor Serhii Plokhy, whose book, The Last Empire: The Final Days of the Soviet Union, offers a new interpretation of the collapse of the U.S.S.R., assigning a prominent role to Plokhy’s native Ukraine.
The jury citation for Plokhy’s book is below:
The final months in the life of the Soviet Union were volatile, dangerous and filled with portents for the future. Serhii Plokhy exploits newly available sources to tell a thrilling story of close calls and might-have-beens, where the roles of Ukraine and the United States White House appear in fresh and decisive detail. The Last Empire: The Final Days of the Soviet Union is a seedbed for the next installment, perhaps, in this gripping, revealing tale.
And listen to the interview, conducted by Rob Steiner, a former Wall Street Journal correspondent and director of fellowships in international journalism at the Munk School, here: