Timothy Colton, Yeltsin, a Life. 616 pp. New York: Basic Books, 2008. ISBN-13 9780465012718. $35.00. Timothy Colton's biography begins with an apology--Yeltsin's to the Russian people during his televised valedictory of 31 December 1999. It ends on a somewhat diffident note--a description of an unofficial competition to design a commemorative monument to Russia's first post-Soviet president, who died in April 2007. In between, the reader is treated to illuminating discussions of the goals Yeltsin set himself, his sources of inspiration, comparisons to other leaders both living and deceased, detailed accounts of political and emotional ups and downs, and apologetics. "My net assessment of Yeltsin," Colton writes in the introduction, "is as a hero in history--enigmatic and flawed, to be sure, yet worthy of out respect and sympathy" (9). For those of "us" who followed Yeltsin's career mostly from a distance, the tone and balance of the biography may seem appropriate, its "textured scrutiny" (9) less adulatory and considerably shorter than Leon Aron's breathless effort of 2000. (1) But for millions of Russians who personally experienced his "antirevolutionary revolution," no apology could suffice.