In his autobiography Colonel Bassett tells about his fifty-four years of taking the King's shilling in the Royal Marines and of rising through the ranks from recruit to colonel. Classically naive as Candide, he was mustered into the Corps by a recruiting sergeant with the ageless bait of pretty uniforms, horses, good pay and a chance to see the world ""in comfort."" During World War I he was the first non-commissioned officer ever to be commissioned a second lieutenant in the Marines. And this was on his proficiency at the piano, knowledge of vintage wines, and not his wide linguistic abilities. These early years are recalled with keen humor and a flair for characterization of his fellow officers. During the Bolshevik revolution he married a translator, and was later transferred to Naval Intelligence. It was under this division that his most famous exploits occurred, which earned him direct communication with Churchill and Eisenhower in World War II. In preparation for the Normandy invasion, he did advance, solo scouting of French beaches which contributed heavily to Allied success. It is all brightly written, sometimes intense.