Dana Schmidt, N.Y. Times correspondent, left Czechoslovakia just before William Oatis arrived, or he might well have shared his fate. This is his version of the inside story, perhaps the most comprehensive study we are likely to have for some time to come. In the telling he has given readers both a personal experience story and an objective analysis of Communism taking hold of power in a Western country which grew out of the principles of self-government and freedom and democracy. He presents his study against a background of Czechoslovakian history. He challenges the responsibility for its downfall in the betrayal of the West at Munich and again at Teheran. He explores the ramifications of the coup d' etat in 1948, implemented by a fifth column and military might in face of unorganized opposition of Benes and Jan Masaryk. He analyzes the judicial tactics, the setting up of a ""people's democracy"", he discusses nationalization, collectivization, class strife, the methods of resistance, the underground -- and gives a glimmer of hope that below the surface the Czechs are as desirous of freedom as ever. He discusses the policies that grew out of the Oatis' trial, the effect on the future. In the overall, he gives us a serious and absorbing picture of the impact of Communism on an industrialized country, -- what might happen here.