This is East Germany Barely: we are in the German Democratic Republic, where communism (never mentioned) is ""a social system different from the one I knew,"" Nazism is invariably fascism, and there are no discomforts or discontents. The author, who made an official ten-day visit in 1973 knowing (she says) only that East Germany had been the former Soviet zone, returned in 1977 for a six-week tour with interpreter and chauffeur to do a book ""on the young people in the G.D.R. . . . for the young people in the United States."" So we have visits with families in various towns, stops at schools and recreational programs, testimonials to the blessings of the (unexplained) system, praise for incidental amenities (""Whether we stopped in a small village or a big city, there was always a restaurant and the food was always good""), a few personal frustrations that evaporate quickly (a ceremony she's barred from ""really was a special day for only first graders, beginning their long journey to a Ph.D.""), and hosannas for peace on earth and friendship among kids. Anyone who remembers the agit-prop lit of former days will feel born again.