Stalin ordered his execution, but here Peter Palchinsky has the last word. His ghost leads readers through the miasma of Soviet technology and industry, pointing out the mistakes he condemned in his time, the corruption and collapse he predicted, the ultimate price paid for silencing those who were not afraid to speak out. The story of this visionary engineer's life and work, as Graham tells it, is also the story of the Soviet Union's industrial promise and failure. Palchinsky is shown in pre-Revolutionary Russia, immersed in protests against the miserable lot of labourers in the tsarist state; protests which were destined to echo ironically during the Soviet worker's paradise. Exiled from the country, pardoned and welcomed back at the outbreak of World War I, the engineer joined the ranks of the Revolutionary government, only to find it no more open to criticism than the previous regime. Palchinsky's turbulent career offers us a window on debates over industrialization. Graham highlights the harsh irrationalities built into the Soviet system, such as: the world's most inefficient steel mill in Magnitogorsk; the gigantic and ill-conceived hydro-electric plant on the Dnieper; the infamously mislocated construction of the White Sea Canal. Time and again, we see the effects of policies that ignore not only workers' and consumers' needs, but also sound management and engineering precepts. And we see Palchinsky's criticism and advice, persistently given, consistently ignored, continue to haunt the Soviet Union right up to its dissolution in 1991.