Edward Crankshaw, the author of several books on Russia and the long-time analyst of Soviet politics and foreign policy for the London Observer, has written a popular political biography of Khrushchev's rise from provincial obscurity to the presiding artificer of the most massive transition that has yet taken place in the Soviet Union. Crankshaw has been frequently faulted by academic Sovietologists for his glibness, provocative language, and barely qualified bias against anything Soviet. Whether or not these charges have any merit to them, this particular book tends to substantiate the prevailing whispers. But in many respects this is a useful book although the author's energies seem to lapse after 1960 for there is little said about the 1962 Cuban missile crisis, Mr. K.'s overall relationship with President Kennedy, or the dynamics of Khrushchev's demise. In general, the book is short on inquiry into various aspects of Soviet foreign policy, but at great length examines the shifts that occurred in the ideological and economic areas. And it will play a provisional role in acquainting the general public with this remarkable man, ""a politician first, a balancer, a trimmer, an intriguer, a fixer"" and also in many ways a visionary. It is not a dispassionate work, and it may be superseded in time, but for now it will reach the new readership since Kellen's Khrushchev (1961) which had an uneven press.