The difficulty in writing a full-length biography of the secretive and elusive Suslov lies, as the author concedes, in the paucity of documentary and other material. For certain periods, particularly the early years, Petroff is reduced to giving a general account of what was happening in the U.S.S.R. and then guessing what Suslov must or might have thought, said or done. Nevertheless, this biography certainly is a good try. It shows how Suslov, first as survivor and then as kingmaker, kept his footing through all the shifts in leadership from Stalin's time to the early 1980s, and established himself as the high priest of ideology. Perhaps Soviet scholars delving into the Khrushchev years and the "Brezhnev-Suslov era of stagnation" will be able to confirm, or correct, the author's conclusions and speculations.