A narrowly focused appraisal of how the USSR's spetsnaz (special-purpose). forces go about their deadly, subversive business. One of the few Russian military officers known to have defected, Suvorov (Inside the Red Army, The Liberators, etc.) obviously knows what he's talking about. With few exceptions, however, the author confines himself to reviewing how shock troops are recruited, rigorously trained, and deployed to further Moscow's foreign-policy objectives. Suvorov offers some chilling speculation on how small spetsnaz detachments assigned to conventional Navy as well as Army units (under the command and control of GRU, military intelligence) might be employed at the outset of WW III. Unfortunately, he provides few insights on how such cadres have been utilized in Afghanistan or other venues. Nor does the author compare spetsnaz forces with those of rival nations. By contrast, James Adams in Secret Armies (p. 333) covers much the same territory as Suvorov and gives examples documenting the performance of Soviet soldiers who made quick work of a Czech uprising in 1968 and captured Kabul in 1979. He also offers critiques of elite Western forces whose stock in trade is assault, rapid response, and/or espionage. Lacking perspectives of this sort, Suvorov's detailed briefing will appeal mainly to a professional readership. The competently translated text has eight pages of pedestrian photographs, plus a wealth of organization tables.