The appeal of this book lies less in the external events it describes than in the atmosphere it conveys and the philosophical comments of the author, a distinguished Polish novelist and one-time communist. In West Germany at the beginning of the Solidarity strike, Brandys is disheartened by what he sees as the caviling reaction of West Europeans to the developing drama in Poland, their fear of the Soviet Union obliterating any gesture of respect for Polish courage. He has much to offer both in human interest and in insight into issues of the mind and spirit facing modern man in Poland and elsewhere. These are selected passages from the two-volume Polish edition. Brandys now lives in the West.