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IN BRIEF

Nonfiction

January 06, 1991|Alex Raksin

MOSCOW AND BEYOND by Andrei Sakharov (Alfred A. Knopf: $19.95; 158 pp.) While the first volume of Andrei Sakharov's memoirs, published last July, abounded with tales of smuggling, prisoner revolts and other intrigue, this second and final installment is more intimate, recording meetings with world leaders and colleagues where Sakharov's wryly skeptical wit leaves him triumphantly impervious to political posturing and rhetoric. When George Bush shows him a photo of his family and says, "Here's the guarantee that we'll never use nuclear weapons first," Sakharov renders the President silent by replying, "If you'll never make first use of nuclear weapons, you should announce that publicly, write it into law." Sakharov died in December, 1989, before he could develop many of the ideas expressed in this slim volume. But the loving tributes to his wife and the warm reunions with fellow scientists recounted in "Moscow and Beyond" do make one thing clear: Sakharov, despite the conflicts that dominated his life, died at peace.

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