Lev Yakimenko is a popular Soviet literary critic, and the author of well-known books about Nobel Prize winner Mikhail Sholokhov. In the present book, Lev Yakimenko gives a profound and comprehensive analysis of all Sholokhov's work, from his early Tales from the Don to his last, as yet unfinished novel They Fought for Their Fatherland. He focuses his main attention on the author's two major novels And Quiet Flows the Don and Virgin Soil Upturned, which are very well known to readers abroad. The principal questions of the aesthetics of socialist realism, such as creative method, tradition and innovation, the theory of genres (short-story, novel, epic novel), the meaning of the writer's aesthetic and social ideal, are thoroughly examined. Lev Yakimenko also gives a detailed account of Sholokhov's career, dwelling on little-known pages from his life-story, and admirably achieves what he has set out to do---to show this great writer in all his uniqueness and originality.