If the image we have of Stalin is blurred and distorted, it is certainly no fault of the historians. Political figures have always had their friends and enemies; but until the advent of totalitarianism, opposing interpretations were available from which the historian could achieve a more or less exact picture—for all their bias, these interpretations had real value as historical evidence. In Stalin’s case, Communist interpreters, in representing his historical role, hew strictly to the line laid down in the officially approved Short History of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union. This is a work that Stalin himself helped to write and in which all the fairy tales of the Moscow trials are repeated. Its historical value is exactly nil.