Fourteen reporters sent to the Soviet Union by The New York Times, have produced a prismatic investigation of changes and continuities in the arts and sciences, sports, living conditions, diplomacy.... The articles on economics, military capabilities, education, and Soviet Jews exhibit considerable depth, and the numerous interviews with Soviet citizens give the book a special interest. We get a closeup cross-section of professional and artistic elites--and of men on the street, who (according to one Soviet mathematician) spend 70% of their free time in line; feel indifferent toward the anniversary celebration; admire JFK; and retain what Charlotte Curtis calls ""a pathological fear of war."" The reporters do a competent Job of indicating transitions and contrasts; unfortunately, an adequate all-overview is lacking, and Salisbury botches his chapter on historical background (asserting, e.g. that no one in 1917 would have raised the question whether Russia could ""leap"" from semifeudalism to planned industrialization, whereas in fact everyone from German socialists to Lenin himself was audibly doubting it). Within its limits the book's substance lives up to the style--familiar Times tones of sober Judgment, leavened with those engaging interviews.