A pretentious trifle from a writer whose fiction, whatever its artistic deficiencies, can at least usually be described as substantial. Michener was invited to visit Poland in 1988, ostensibly by the Writers' Union but actually by the government. Years earlier, he had recounted the buffer state's bloody, checkered history in a best-selling novel (Poland, 1983) that, while well received by the populace, had made him persona non grata with the Communist regime. Apparently eager for a reconciliation, Party officials awarded the octogenarian author an unspecified medal and gave him and his entourage the run of the country. Michener provides a cursory, consistently upbeat account of his VIP excursions in Poland during a period when winds of change were beginning to whistle through Eastern Europe, and in a subsequent trip to Rome, where he renewed acquaintances with Pope John Paul II as well as with the US ambassadors to the Vatican and Italy. The author also offers high-sounding asides on the coincidental nature of human life, socioeconomic events, and other weighty matters. Lest anyone miss the point, he appends a postscript entitled "The Deeper Meeting." While Michener clearly aspired to record a journey of the spirit, he has produced a mundane travelogue remarkable more for piety than wit. The brief (128-page), happy-talk text has 39 photographs of notables and lesser lights, which include shots of baseball great Start Musial playing the clown in the Colosseum and elsewhere.