Ever since The New Eastern Europe appeared more than 20 years ago, J. F. Brown has been a well-known and well-respected authority on the region. His new book is wide ranging, informative and sprinkled with judgments that are measured without being pallid. It should stand for some time without rivals as the best comprehensive one-volume work in the field. In addition to dealing separately with developments in the individual countries and with the main common trends in the area as a whole, the author never loses sight of how these "local" matters tie into the larger issues of East-West relations. He knows that the Western nations cannot ignore Eastern Europe, even if they cannot do much about it.