Cockburn's aim is to debunk the Soviet military threat as it is often depicted in the West, especially the U.S. In arguing that the Soviets are not ten feet tall he implicitly suggests that they are three feet tall, thereby losing some of his credibility. Yet there is much that is fascinating in this well-written book about matters like the grim daily life of Soviet recruits and weapons that don't work. The author has spent long hours with Soviet emigrés, as well as American defense analysts, and has produced what should be a controversial, if not authoritative, book. It is a welcome addition to a debate in which most of the literature is on the hawkish side of the scale.