Turning from the fiction of When the Gods are Silent (1953) to the facts of his own life with the Soviet Army, Mikhail Soloviev traces the terrors of life in a nation of involuntary gladiators whose fate is determined and action compelled by an outer power. The author was a sports writer on Isvestia in 1932 when his appointment as military correspondent brought him into a new realm of duties. He taught history to the heroes of the Revolution, generals schooled only on the battlefield; he ghost-wrote for Marshal Rudionay; he went with General Mckhlis to the front during the Finnish War; he fought with the reserves to defend Moscow and was captured -- saved from a regime to which he had become increasingly antagonistic. For Soloviev embarked on his military correspondent career undefiled by political interests; he saw the effects of ruthless collectivization in the starving Ukraine; he witnessed the battle between the Cheka men, the commissars of Party loyalty and the military men, the commanders, in which Party truths rose above human or military truths to ambush justice and reason. Here is a gallery in which hang the portraits of generals, of top men like Malenkov; the group picture of the soldiers -- as in the Form Regiment, not without humor, as in the reserves, not without honor; the mass scenes of oppressed people; the duel of oppressed against oppressor. Vivid in terms of personalities, incident, ideas in motion, this is especially important for its picture of the Soviet Army. Such truth turns propaganda pale.