This is sub-titled ""A study of government by trial and terror""- and is a pedantic, rambling, superficial treatment of Russia and Communism, which attempts to fuse theory and anecdote. The author is a Time-Life correspondent, with a background of a two years' hitch in Moscow. He reviews early Bolshevik history, pointing up the pattern of power seizure as prescribed by Lenin and slightly modified through the years by Stalin. Separate chapters deal with the Politburo, its organization, its membership, an election-Soviet styled, the police powers, and the judiciary from the Cheka to the N.K.V.D. Illustrated by personal experiences and anecdotes, here are described also the Red Army, its status as privileged class, the economy of the country, the distribution of consumer goods, rural and city homes, the grafting minor bureaucracy, the purchasing power of the rouble, the Russian woman, Russian culture, the press and propaganda. Interesting material, and broad enough coverage to satisfy those readers who want a birdseye view. But on a critical basis, ill-written and mediocre contender for an already crowded market.