A sound biography of the French composer which extends to his contemporaries with the author's easy familiarity with the period and the men who colored it. Ravel himself was one of the central and controversial figures of the Parisian world of music, often unfortunately compared with Debussy as his imitator. The ""affairs Ravel"" stirred all Paris, from the injustice occurring in connection with the Prix de Rome to the final ruckus when Ravel wrote from his position as a volunteer in the World War I French army that he could not in conscience agree with his nationalist colleagues that German music should be banned in France. Ravel's music is given ample attention here, and the works with Diaghilev, the meetings with Satie, Faure, the Apaches, Stravinsky are weighed. A book satisfying from the musical end (with listings of Ravel's complete works and available recordings) which makes an era in French music history live although it does not quite revive the elusive Ravel himself. Libraries, music-lovers, take note.