Two American scholars, diligent in their research, show how the Writers' Union in the Russian Republic has served the interests and the official line of the Communist Party since the time of Stalin. Their study is about literary politics and literary bureaucracy rather than literature. The system of rewards and punishments, of course, has ensured that nonconforming literature would be published only abroad or in samizdat. What now, with glasnost? Pasternak and Solzhenitsyn have been published in the U.S.S.R. But the union remains as an actual or potential barrier between writer and reader.