Hoffman here proves herself a first-rate guide to Eastern Europe, offering vivid snapshots of conditions in the former Soviet satellites. Visiting her native Poland, she spends time with the co-editor of one of the country's most successful newspapers, who describes her hellish past hiding in the underground; interviews a handful of women who demonstrate against an upcoming bill (that has subsequently passed) to outlaw abortion; attends a meeting of uncloseted artistocrats; and hears Adam Michnik's take on his breakup with Lech Walesa. Hoffman finds an unrepentant ex-censor who now aggressively scouts commercial fiction for a publishing house, and she debates with a taxi driver who, although he doesn't know any Jews, spouts anti-Semitic comments. In the Czech Republic, a woman whose father, a Communist official, was imprisoned after a 1953 show trial and whose husband was a prominent activist in the Prague Spring, recalls how society treated her as a pariah. Hoffman encounters Hungarians who are asked for favors by neighbors who formerly informed on them; she visits a tragic Rumanian orphanage and meets a Bulgarian dissident whose parents have stayed in the Party despite their disillusionments. This masterful mix of the personal and the political should render the new Eastern Europe accessible to a wide American audience.