Like his Russia and the Russians back in 1948, this is written objectively and dispassionately. Like that closely reasoned book, this too seems to hew to a somewhat optimistic faith that territorial expansion is not part of an inevitable pattern. He gives a heartening picture of a fumbling, planless Kremlin policy, rooted in Stalinism rather than Communism, and designed- at present- to get what can be got while avoiding war. He goes back- historically- to Leninism, and without any glamorizing of the figure of Lenin, shows how the developments under Stalin have their roots in Lenin's basic materialism and lust for power as he distorted Marxism to his ends. Lenin gave the Bolshevists their policy and their teeth. While he claims that he has high regard for the Russian people, he does not spare them in his feeling that they have consistently chosen absolutism. The fundamental thesis of the book is the case against the Soviet regime, what it is and how it came to be, and the steps by which the Cold War became the external evidence of Stalin's policy. He analyzes what he feels indicates disintegration, evidence of improvisation not long term planning, deterioration of the Communist Party as such, loss of hold over the peasants, the ranks of labor, the fifth column in satellite countries, the failure of the gamble on the home front. Let's hope he has not fallen into the danger he warns against, the danger of wishful thinking....Not easy reading, but worth the concentration demanded.