An exceptional work for a world leader. Partly an autobiography, but mainly a record of his conversations and impressions, encompassing the three great powers of his time: the Soviet Union, the United States and China. True to form, Schmidt is a critical observer of leaders and national habits, ever willing to instruct. He is harsh on his closest foreign ally, the United States, and full of pique about some of its public servants. Lamenting the frequent changes in American policies, he warns that "in Europe we are also marching along the road . . . to television democracy," a flaw most highly developed under the Reagan presidency. The German version of the book was completed in 1987 and Schmidt's judgments of Soviet and Chinese leaders have been partly invalidated by subsequent events, but overall this is a work of absorbing interest and great historical value.