This biography begins in 1844 when Peter Ilich was a youngster of four in Southwestern Russia where his father was a governmental inspector of mines. While still young his family took the trip to St. Petersburg and Moscow; along the way he heard the chants of Volga boatmen. He was so sensitive that everything was immediately translated into music. Readers will learn a great deal of Russian history from this book; in the first part the governess tells Peter Ilich about the past; all his life there were wars and revolution. His was a career of genius, hard work, pride and instability. There are thirty music plates, a complete opus list, a bibliography and list of recordings.