This biography shows the Iron Chancellor as a powerful, complicated, nearly unscrupulous politician whose vision of a united Germany was patiently achieved. Mr. Richter is a sympathetic but not incautious biographer. His portrait of the man who came to dominate European affairs is not the usual Monster of Evil approach. Bismarck's sensitivity to the emotional vulnerability of both his friends and his enemies was raised to an unequalled and delicately balanced system of domestic alignments and foreign alliance after he seized the chancellorship. Mr. Richter is particularly good at clarifying the now obscure internal and external problems of 19th century Germany. It is Machiavelli unmasked and though quite long, quite readable.