As there is little to record about Stalin that is not political, this brilliant and fascinating volume is in effect a full-fledged "life and times." The author has devoted many years to studying the relevant material, including documents hitherto unused by biographers of the Communist dictator. In tracing Stalin's ideological development, his struggle to achieve supreme power and the uses to which he put that power, Mr. Deutscher covers no small part of the main currents of Soviet history. Nearly half the text deals with Russia's foreign relations and their reaction on her domestic affairs. Some critics allege that the author's views have been too much colored by Trotsky's interpretations. But in general this seems probably as adequate a biography as we shall have until the passage of time shall have lent us still truer perspective.