Readers mature enough to understand the implications of Amnesty International's work might appreciate an accounting of its operations, but this fictionalized tract doesn't make much of a case for the organization's cause. It features a small group of West German young people who write to foreign governments in an effort to ease the situations of known political prisoners. The work is frustrating, the governments slow to respond and frequently devious, and the members often must lay out their own money to help the victims and their families--a Spanish labor-union member who resisted arrest, a Chilean folk singer deafened in one ear during detention, an American black sent to jail on a phony narcotics charge. Lang has tried to humanize his characters with some family or school life, but there's no oil in the joints, and the duty-bound story just creaks along. Also, the translation (a contemporary American car is a jalopy) is no help. An inauspicious introduction.