Since the war, Shostakovich has become increasingly well known to musical circles in America; this book will give background factually, musically, for this growing audience. But the impersonal detachment of the author's treatment (perhaps he had access to nothing more) will limit this audience to a rather narrow group. As a youth Shostakovich dedicated himself and his music to the proletariat. The biography gives the externals of that life, the development of his work, but there is nothing of the man, with the only personal touch indicated in family correspondence. His childhood was one of privation during years of revolution; his widowed mother carried on alone, staunch in her ambition for him; she opposed his marriage; and the ""Party"" did not forgive his bourgeois past. Now political and domestic discords are lessening; his chance is greater.