A first-person view of Sino-Soviet diplomacy during the war years 1942-1945, when the author was the TASS military expert and Comintern agent assigned to the mountain headquarters of the Chinese Communist Party. Vladimirov is blunt in his detestation of Mao as a narrow, chauvinistic Confucian. ""Everything in him bespeaks a long line of peasant ancestry"" and he is fondest of ""semi-anarchists."" He describes Mao as a hard-drinking conniver of limited intellect but extraordinary talent for manipulating cliques while relying on Kang Sheng's secret police and ""rectification"" purges which initiated ""Mao-Tse-Tung thought"" during this period. Vladimirov, suffering from claustrophobia and the horrors (leprosy, smallpox, opium) at the front, has one primary worry: that Mao will allow the U.S. to precipitate a crisis between the Americans and the Soviets over the Chinese civil war, giving the U.S. a pretext to intervene against the USSR itself. Hence the Soviet attempt to:maintain the Communists' popular front with Chiang, even when he was slaughtering Red cadres. This worry (which Averell Harriman also records in the memoirs of his Moscow years) leads Vladimirov to write, ""Mao wants to set the two great powers at loggerheads."" The book is important for its frank account of Soviet diplomatic attitudes and the psychological sketches of the CCP leadership, and is reportedly a best-seller in Russia.