This is the third biography of Lenin to appear this season. Robert Payne's The Life and Death of Lenin (p. 162) will be the July Book-of-the-Month Club selection and keeps its eye on Lenin, the man. It is also particularly good on the terrorists through whom Lenin's ideas originated (Lenin's brother, one of these revolutionaries, was executed for his association with their circle). However Fischer, one of the notable biographers of Stalin, who has for many years written about Russia- particularly in relation to the West, also studies Lenin, the man, and has a distinct advantage over Payne. He not only attended Lenin's news conferences, but he has been intimate with many world leaders. Writing from Princeton's Institute for Advanced Studies, he has within reach a group of knowledgeable Western scholars and sources. Fischer's is not only the more definitive study, but is more sophisticated in its insights. Here is that multifarious man, part ascetic atheist but in action a Mongol who, when he achieved the political apparatus necessary for running a Communist state discovered himself to be the victim of his own efficiency. Studying his new bureaucracy, even more hidebound than the old Tsarist order, he laughed at his handiwork. Fischer's vision of Lenin is both intense and ironic and projects a portrait of a fabulous executive.