This revealing book is a retrospective analysis of Khrushchev's political past in the light of his present position, at the zenith of his power. It took him less than five years after Stalin's death to ""catch up and overtake"" not only his rival, Malenkov, but Bulganin, Kaganovich, Molotov and Zhukov,- all have seemingly faded from the immediate picture. What is the explanation? The biographer- a student of the Russian enigma for thirty years and an accepted authority in a strategic position-acknowledges the difficulties. Legend is interwoven with legend, six official biographies present facts in contradiction to each other, Russian history is revised continually to suit the current scene. This book attempts to construct the man from substantiated facts of his political career, the events in which he has participated, his known contribution to the establishment of dictatorship. Briefly, the salient facts of his background, education, youthful work pattern, and possible role in the Revolution, in the subsequent Civil War, in the labor movement, are sketched. And then comes the record of his meteoric rise, an acknowledged follower of the Stalinist line. Early he revealed his intolerance toward opposition, the clarity of his approach to political debate, his skillful use of the verbal assault characteristic of Stalinists. His function was that of an organizer and propagandist and it took him only 8(apple) years from the time he was moved to Moscow before the became a member of the Politburo and Stalin's vicar over 40 million Ukranians. He had several advantages over his fellow members in the small percentage of those at commanding level. In many ways he improved on the Stalinist line. Again his actual role is cloaked in secrecy; Pistrak has examined the official biographies, sundry pamphlets and articles- and the portrait that emerges is convincingly that of a political commissar with extraordinary powers. He had his postwar ups and downs- but a growing influence with Stalin. He was adroit at covering mistakes- throwing blame elsewhere. And with Stalin's death, he engineered his own successful rise to the supreme control. Final chapters are concerned with his foreign policy in the context of his belief that capitalism not only be taken by the scruff of the neck- but buried. His policy is a policy of adaptation to reality, without compromise on the final goal of world conquest. It is impossible in a single paragraph to compress the essence of this intensely concentrated study. It is important and timely.