Stig Jagerskiold does a an excellent job capturing the life of Mannerheim in an English version of his work previously written in Swedish and Finnish. From his childhood, through his service as a Russian cavalry officer, the author clearly documents his evolving sentiments toward his country and her aspirations for independence. Also, the experience he gains in leadership under fire with Russian troops foreshadows his stellar performance during the Winter and Continuation Wars. After the First World War, Mannerheim is asked to take command of the "White" forces who, with German assistance, are battling the Finnish Communists and their Russian Bolshevik allies. His attitudes toward Germany are formed here and again the author illustrates later how his impressions affected his conduct when Finland and Germany were co-belligerents. Mannerheim's command during this period is somewhat controversial: debate continues on whether he knew, much less approved, of atrocities committed by White forces. The book unfortunately doesn't investigate these allegations as deeply as it could have, and still maintained the focus of the work. However, the chapters concerned with his leadership in the Winter and Continuation Wars are well done, with examples of his command style clearly written and contrasted with those of his staff. The author rightly gives equal weight to Mannerheim's political beliefs expounded when he became President in 1944. His insight into both the psyche of the Soviets and their Western Allies was vital in concluding a surrender that left Finland unoccupied. As an introduction, or as a basis from which to conduct further research this book is a superb resource. Highly Recommended.