Any full assessment of Ceausescu and his role in history must await his departure from the public stage and the availability of much more evidence. What Professor Fischer has done, with scholarly care and impartiality, is to describe his political methods and his strategies of leadership against the background of his Marxist ideology and the traditional political culture of Romania. The general theme is the passage from achievement and hope in the early years to failure and despair in the 1980s; for the Romanian people even the early years were not that great. The Freedom House book, the record of a roundtable discussion by a group of intellectuals of Romanian and Hungarian origin, says many of the same things about Ceausescu's Romania as does Mary Ellen Fischer, though in less restrained terms. The Giurescu book gives chapter and verse on Ceausescu's wholesale destruction of architectural treasures and entire villages in the name of socialism and "collectivization."