Critical"" has seldom been more of an operative word than it is here. Mr. Wighton, whose knowledge of modern German affairs is as extensive as his distaste for most of them is deep, means what he says when he terms his subject a ""democratic dictator"". The context indicates which word gets the stress. As an Englishman, he has all the more reason for disliking the ""authoritarian"", ""narrow-minded"", ""petty"", and ""vindictive"" ex-Chancellor. But if he no words, neither does he deny Adenauer's monumental energy and determination. This ""last Cold Warrior"" who finally bowed ""to age and advancing senility"" was, amazingly, twelve years older than the man he followed as leader of his nation -- Adolf Hibler. Konrad Adenauer unquestionably performed a miracle when, in ten years, he brought Germany back to a position of international respectability and power. But, asks Mr. Wighton, have his methods of government done permanent damage to ""the tender plant of German democracy""? Has he unilaterally prolonged and intensified the Cold War? And, and devout Catholic that he is, has he deliberately prevented reunification with Prussian, Protestant East Germany? Mr. Wighton is not content with merely raising such issues; he provides some very convincing, if provoking, answers.