Daniels, a senior scholar in the field of Soviet studies, adds little to already published accounts of Gorbachev's effort to reform the Soviet system and the reasons he failed. The merit of his book, however, is in the broader task that he sets himself. Leaning on a lifetime of study, he uses the end of Soviet history to prompt more fundamental questions: What were the prior years all about? What was the meaning of Lenin's original revolution? Why Stalin, and what did his reign have to do with socialism? And, finally, what, with communism dead, is the future of socialism? Daniels responds with simple, straightforward answers, none of which penetrates deeply into these hard questions, but many of which set a reader to thinking.