The stormy ups and downs of the collectivization period of the Don Cossacks under the Soviet form the background and motive of this new novel by the author of And Quiet Flows the Don. There is more of social implication and diatribe against injustices --and less of the sweeping power of character and the piling up of incident. The story opens at the period of the arrival of a new director to sweep all the peasants into the collective farm, to take from them all individual owernship, to drive out the kulak. Outward success, accompanied by inward turmoil, disruption of families, destruction of morale, uprooting of traditions and pride of race, sabotage, civil war, failure. The characters in this are the old civilization vs. the new. Sholokhov is -- to judge from these two books -- one of the most vital of the new Russian writers -- and fearless in his presentation of his theme.