Violent anti-Stalinist diatribe, and only superficially the suavely engaging story of an employee of the Russian government. Barmine was with the embassy in Athens during the 1936-37 purges, and narrowly escaped liquidation by getting out of Athens, then to Paris, where an unsuccessful attempt was made on his life, and finally to the U.S.A. This book does little to clarify the horrid mystery of the Russian purges. One must give some credence to eye witness accounts of events in Russia. But the strictures on Stalin are for the most part so trivial, so definitely backstairs gossip, that they diminish belief in the balance of the record. The story is told with too engaging candor-but it lacks the ring of sincerity, the intellectual grasp, that would make it a contribution to the Russian picture. Will appeal to the many critics of Soviet Russia.