Coppernica, a country which bears a terrifying fictional resemblance to the Belgian Congo, is engaged in the struggle for independence, the blood of violence, the clinging greed and moribund assumptions of white imperialism. Caute, also a political historian (Communism and the French Intellectuals, 1914-1960) has a dramatic grasp of history; he is able to make this book speak through individual realities within the scope of its setting--Africa, Europe and the U.S. Starkly, the book follows the events after a reactionary coup made against the government of Coppernica. The immediate action is preceded by flashbacks into the lives of the principal characters--the African Odouma in Paris, in love with a French Communist; Laval, tortured by the Gestapo, a sadistic leader of the mercenaries; James Caffrey, an indecisive English youth; Jason Bailey, an American Negro, hopelessly in love with a white girl; Deedes, a Scot, broken after what he witnessed in a Kenya prison. Men in violence--making evil, meeting it, victim of it, or morally incapable of handling it. Some of it is difficult to read, amorphous, but the essential worth of the book is that through exhaustive realism Caute has surfaced recent history. Caute says something well, in anger, that is painful and crucial to remember.