Political reporter and commentator on ""higher education,"" Nicolas von Hoffman presents in this presumable first novel a kind of symposium on the University rebellion/riot in which all viewpoints are given equal, or almost equal time. The author's sympathies are with the students but he has an overview too and can state the case for the other side, fairly at least, if not with conviction. This particular event occurs in time between Columbia and Brandeis though some of the circumstances most resemble the Columbia affair. The black students have seized a building in protest over the implicit racism of a famous lecturer. They are supported and carried to new heights by the SDSers and by the theatrical guerrillas wandering in and out of the scene. The administration exerts what restraints it is capable of without conceding anything until there is a foray from the ghetto onto the campus. The administrators panic, escalate the conflict and the novel ends in literal explosion. Much of the event is related by means of statements from participants taken from the Verbal History Projects--sponsored by. . . the Ford Foundation to record the postmortem. The novel offers a collection of types--which may be more appropriate here than characters since the book's interest is sociological. It's instructive at any rate and von Hoffman writes with verve and a sense of irony.