Hertfordshire Press’s publication of ‘What Hurts My Heart’ couldn’t be more timely, coming hot on the heels of the death of the last Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev last month. Translated by xxx, it is a large and remarkable collection of the diaries and letters of Raisa Gorbachev, his wife of half a century, and one of the few Russian first ladies to emerge from the shadows and become almost as well known in the West as her husband.

When the stylish and forceful Raisa died in 1999, former US first lady Nancy Reagan said. “We believe that Raisa was a strong partner with her husband and an important voice in the friendship that our two countries established in the 1980s,” Certainly few were better placed than Raisa to give a true insight into the enigmatic Gorbachev and his struggle to both see through the end of the nuclear arms race and the peaceful break up of the Soviet empire.

Some of ‘What Hurts My Heart’ was published in 1992, as Raisa’s memoir ‘I Hope’. But this volume contains a whole lot more letters and commentaries never published in English before. They provide a close-up, sharp and often very poignant eyewitness view of some of the major events in world history – the personal and intimate reflections of a woman close to the heart of power, and an absolutely fascinating read for anyone interested one of the most extraordinary figures of the 20th century.

— John Farndon, writer




Book compiled by Georgi Pryakhin
Translated from Russian by David Floyd, Timur Akhmedjavov
Edited by Johnathan Campion

ISBN: 978-1-913356-54-5

hardback + dustcover

A5 format, 432pp


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