Double agents, triple agents, secret understandings, deliberate misunderstandings, white Russians, NKVD men, Nazis, forged papers, assassinations, bribes, posthumous ""trials"", all this and more which is even harder to fathom contributes to this account of how both the tremendous purges of the Red Army hierarchy and the Stalin-Hitler pact egan. According to the author, and according to the de-Stalinized party line, Tukha-hevsky was a good soldier, a ""true patriot"" and ""perhaps the war's first victim"". He was shot as a German spy and a counterrevolutionary in 1937 as a result of a conspiracy which seems as complicated in motivation as it was in execution. Alexandrov claims that this story has never been told before, and much of it is very nearly unintelligible to the initiated. There are all kinds of unrecorded conversations, and unspoken thoughts used to ""reconstruct"" this cabal, identify the participants, and follow the dots of the plot, which is certainly a real humdinger.