This is a chronicle of twenty years of tumult in Rome. Mike Stern, a war correspondent, returned to Rome in 1944 as ""a groping idealist wearing an iron mask of cynicism"" and made Rome his home. He describes life in the fallen city and of is early search for Colonel Eugene Dollmann, the Nazi chief of the SS in Rome. Stern is, in fact, rather rabid about Dollmann, a homosexual, ""for he and his kind are the moral lepers who can infect our society with a loathsome disease."" He describes the last days of Mussolini, with a special twist of sex for Mussolini's last night on earth, and he has traced down the identity of a certain Colonel alerio who shot the dictator and his mistress. He describes also a visit to the achau crematorium while it was still in use and the SS was burning 500 corpses a ay in six furnaces. He helped liberate some art treasures among his less violent activities; murder is a commonplace in Stern's Rome. There are fresh bodies for every paragraph. The last days of his good friend Mario Lanza are revealed with frankness allowable only because Lanza's wife is also dead (she was a dope addict and Mario had prostitutes--altogether, not very MGM.) For all of his toughening experiences, Stern remains remarkably naive and sometimes boyish. His book though racy stuff with a hook like a longshoreman's.