From letters, diaries, and other sources culled in three years of research, Marc Slonim brings to us an account of Dostoevsky's three great loves, which extends to give varied insights into the living man and artist and becomes almost a complete biography. For the author turns back to Dostoevsky's childhood, introducing the household with the sick mother and the volatile father, whose murder in degradation was seemingly the basis for Karamazov Pere forty years later. There is the mock execution as a Petrashevist, cancelled by years in Siberia, where Dostoevsky changed his views of the common man and came to Christ. After enduring grim imprisonment he entered the army at Semipalantisk. Here he met Wrangel, life-long friend, and Maria, then married but soon widowed. This is a complex book. Mare Slonim's approach to Dostoevsky's relationships with the three women who were most important as lovers in his life is that of psychological speculation and probing. He proceeds in this manner to view interaction with the unsuitable Maria, his first wife, whom he nursed tenderly as she lay dying while he awaited word from Apollinairia, the dominating ""she-nihilist"" for whom there could be no submission. At last, after a short episode, there is the true wife, Anna, who stepped from the role of stenographer to helpmeet and enabled Dostoevsky to live like a burgher -- and continue to write like a Dostoevsky. Her willingness, his ability to trust in her completely so that even pathological aspects of sexuality became acceptable, freed him from the need to gamble. Intermingled with the story of three loves are the other aspects of Dostoevsky's life -- his working methods, drives, ideas, epilepsy, family situations, literary position. But this is a view of the interior man made with a strong searchlight.