When Frank Walker's scholarly The Man Verdi was reported upon with jubilation in these pages about a year ago, it could not have been predicted that it would so soon be followed by another Verdi study of complementary power and depth. Where Walker's 15 years of documentary research yielded a book of factually articulate information couched in readable language, George Martin's approach has resulted in dramatic, occasionally lyrical story supported by a combination of factual resorts, quotations, and clearly-designated legends and traditional material. Martin evotes more space to the physical environments of Verdi's life, to the religious and political history of the period which was so bound up with Verdi's choice of peratic themes, and to the intimate details of the composer's day-to-day activities. Walker reappraised the career of Giuseppina Strepponi, Verdi's second wife; Martin now brings her into complete focus as a person. Musical schematics and comparative dramatic analyses of the operas, particularly the early ones, are leverly woven into the text, and several kinds of information are presented in appendices. A briskly annotated bibliography is also provided. For the general opera buff this is perhaps a more logical library addition than the Walker, and for the student it has everything its name implies, making it the perfect companion volume.