The historic but little-known story of how perestroika was born in Canada through the work of Ambassador Alexander Yakovlev. It was a historic moment. On August 24, 1991, Mikhail S. Gorbachev sat in a room with his key adviser and trusted friend, Alexander N. Yakovlev. Across from Gorbachev was a figure he despised, Boris Yeltsin, who slid a sheaf of documents toward the leader of the Soviet Union. They were Gorbachev's resignation papers, along with an edict that would dissolve the central committee of the Soviet Union's Communist Party. Gorbachev turned to Yakovlev; It's over, Sasha, he said softly. Unlike his good friend, Yakovlev had known for years that the Soviet Union required disassembly. Indeed, he'd been working toward such a result since 1973, when he was banished from the upper rungs of the Communist Party and exiled to Ottawa to become ambassador to Canada. The Soviet Ambassador recounts how Yakovlev developed a friendship with Pierre Trudeau, then used that friendship to end his exile and engineer the close of the Soviet era and the conclusion of the Cold War. Stuck in Ottawa and growing desperate for a way to return to Moscow, Yakovlev hatched a plan to bring Gorbachev to Canada. The trip, planned for ten days in May 1983, would be Gorbachev's first time in North America, and would prove to be far more significant to world history than the Kremlin expected. Most importantly, the trip created the friendship between Gorbachev and Yakovlev. The ambassador spoke privately with Gorbachev and years later, Yakovlev told associates that the idea of perestroika was born in the conversations he and Gorbachev had had in Canada.