When he chose to describe and appraise the course of Russian affairs since 1917, Professor Schuman cut out for himself a job of well-nigh superhuman dimensions. No matter what approach he followed or what conclusions he reached, he was bound to trample on many ideological toes and outrage many vested interests. According to his lights he has tried to get at the real springs of Soviet action, whether they be political, economic, social or psychological. If he has any preconceptions, they are dictated by individual preference and not by party line. One of his preferences is for understanding and peace between Russia and the west, rather than suspicion and hostility. He has no doubt made mistakes of fact and inference, but these are due more than anything else to the absence of a common body of universally accepted knowledge about Russia.