An intense, and densely written, study of the strategic and diplomatic reasons for the German invasion of Russia in WWII and of why Stalin wasn—t better prepared to defend the country. Gorodetsky (East European History/Tel Aviv University, Israel) draws on a wealth of Soviet materials previously unavailable, as well as on material from German and British archives, to argue that this lack of preparation until just weeks before Germany launched its attack was not motivated by political naãvetÇ but rather by Stalin’s own brand of realpolitik—a hope for European peace on terms dictated by Germany, terms in which Stalin would have a part, as an ally of Hitler’s through the Molotov-Ribbentrop pact. Gorodetsky looks carefully at the various corespondences and examines the aims that blinded Stalin to the dangers that were building as Germany deployed its troops closer and closer to the Russian border. In addition, Gorodetsky also examines the effect that the Stalinist purges of the 1930s had in Russia’s attempts to formulate a strategic response to the German buildup of troops without provoking the Wehrmacht into further action. Gorodetsky’s arguments are clear once the reader has managed to unearth them from the mounds of dense, jargon-filled prose in which they are buried. There are few sentences shorter then a full paragraph, and the book is more than twice as long as it needs be. Gorodetsky’s concluding chapter, a concise 7 pages, sums up all the 300 pages that precede it. Alas for the reader that this chapter comes at the book’s end rather than at its beginning. Well argued . . . and argued and argued.