The Captive Mind

by Czeslaw Milosz. Knopf, $3.50.
Czeslaw Milosz is a Polish poet who. although not a Communist, served in the Red Polish diplomatic corps after the war and finally abandoned his country because Communist pressure for artistic conformity became unendurable. His book undertakes to show life under Communism not in terms of external events but of the limitations imposed on creative thought. Documenting his story with case histories of various Polish writers, Air. Alilosz describes a nightmarish world in which constant hypocrisy is the individual’s only defense against spiritual extinction, in which honest talent must be distorted or suppressed, and in which, by a nice stroke of poetic justice, even the cynical timeservers at last lose the ability to create anything at all. This is a new angle on life under the Soviets, and well worth attention.