When renowned cellist Mstislav Rostropovich died less than a year ago at the age of eighty, the world lost not only an extraordinary musician but an accomplished conductor, an outsize personality, and a courageous human being. "It is not an exaggeration to say that the history of the cello in the twentieth century would be unthinkable without the name of Mstislav Rostropovich," writes Elizabeth Wilson. "He has seemed to me like a personification of the cello itself." Ms. Wilson, a former student of "Slava" and the acclaimed biographer of both Shostakovich and Jacqueline du Pre, has written the definitive biography of the master. Rostropovich teems with entertaining anecdotes and therefore brings the reader as close as one can get to the method and psychology of Rostropovich's playing and teaching.