The Diaghilev Ballet existed from 1909 to 1929; and from its beginningto its end Serge Grigoriev acted as r gisseur-that is to say he was responsible for every aspect of the venture save its finance. In theearly 1950s he began reading back among the "logs" of the Ballet'smany seasons, and decided that he would write what no one elsecould write-the story of Diaghilev's extraordinary enterprise as seenby one of its major participants. His book offers a chronology of the Ballet's history, beginning withthe first preparations in St. Petersburg, through triumphs and setbacks in Paris, disaster in the United States, revolution in Portugal, tothe last phase when, cut off from Russia, the Ballet found an official home in Monte Carlo. Almost without exception, the leading European practitioners of music and painting came to collaborate with Diaghilev. Add the names of the dancers, and virtually all the famous figures in theartistic world of the period find a place in Grigoriev's record. Of Diaghilev himself-the strange genius behind this fabulous adventure, the creative artist who could only create in collaboration with dancer-choreographers-a vivid portrait emerges. He underwent every kind of fortune, good and bad, deserved andundeserved, finally refusing to regard himself as a sick man, gambling with death and losing his stake.