A superb reporter gives his readers -- in human terms- the story of the Hungarian revolution, as he learned through the refugees he helped to safety across the bridge at Andau -- a bridge "across whose unsteady planks fled the soul of a nation". Here he- and the world- discovered the bankruptcy of communism. These were no riffraff who escaped; they were the finest flower of a nation. Austria has estimated that about 200 thousand refugees escaped, some of them active participants in the revolution (and these are the stories he has told so graphically and movingly); most of them lovers of freedom who could no longer stomach what communism meant. He sees in this poignant refutation of communism Russia's greatest defeat -- and a psychological shock to the rest of the world, particularly America, whose role has not been an enviable one.... What Michener, who was on the spot, learned he has shared through the stories rebuilt from interviews, carefully checked and counterchecked, changed and pyramided to insure safety to those he interviewed and their families still in Hungary. Each story gives one facet:- student, soldier, worker, young couples, ex-Communist disillusioned with what he had been taught, and so on. The bitter, courageous days come back to living reality -- and their lesson should prepare us for the future.