A well-researched biography that goes into depth about the Soviet system, bringing understanding of the plight of Andrei Sakharov in a context of social history. Efrem Yankelevich, Sakharov's son-in-law, provides a moving introduction that explains the book's purpose: ""People are interested in him [Sakharov] because he encountered in his life certain problems and situations that have important symbolic and practical meanings for our time."" The work may be mistitled, however; more than half is actually about life in the Soviet Union--both past and present. Levert's strong, and elegant prose will help readers grasp not only what it means to be true to oneself, but also the backdrop of Stalinist terror that's little known to today's young people. In trying to give perspective to the contribution of world leaders (including US Presidents) and other social forces in Soviet history, Sakharov as physicist and dissident gets somewhat buried in detail. An adequate picture of the bravery shown by him and his wife doesn't come through early enough. An admirable effort, and quite challenging.