This book is worth having. It's readable, it's cautious in its judgments and its facts are traceable without the heavy presence of footnotes. This is in direct contrast to the sort of books on Stalin that are available at the adult level. For instance, the most recent is Payne's The Rise and Fall of Stalin, 1965, p. 815, a gossipy, overheated, under-documented assessment; the most often recommended adult biography is Deutscher's Stalin: A Political Biography, which is nevertheless rather slow-reading scholarship. What Jules Archer has attempted with some success is the sort of unemotional analysis history's great villains seldom get. His major thesis is that Stalin personally reflected all the barbarism of a semi-primitive country and also mirrored all its crude strength when forcing it, (without any commitment to the ethical principles of Western civilization) to join the 20th century in military power and technological skills. He minimizes none of the despotic characteristics, nor does he fail to point up the always disturbing questions of ends and means. Well done--it makes you stop and think, and perhaps discuss.