This is Mr Zamoyski's second biography of the composer, his first dating from 1979. He has not only updated the text but has taken advantage of new sources - both archival and published - that have appeared since then, in particular, new work on Chopin's health. The result is not a re-working but a new and different text. He is concerned to 'cut through the myths and legends' that have created an image that is 'a sugary blur of sentimentality and melodrama'. Chopin, even more than Beethoven, has been 'worshipped ... desired and appropriated'. Mr Zamoyski is also concerned to place Chopin into the context of his age and background using what few records survive - in Poland and France. His training as an historian not just of Poland but of early nineteenth century Europe and his knowledge of Polish, mean that we have here the fullest and most balanced biography of this very private man yet published in English. Having said that, Mr Zamoyski admits that 'there is a part of him that remains utterly out of reach', out of reach that is in print but, perhaps, not in his sublime music.