Solidarity: Poland in the Season of its Passion, by Lawrence Weschler. New York: A Fireside Book, Simon & Schuster. 221 pp. $8.95.

This is a compelling and moving account of an extraordinary political phenomenon: the growth of Poland's independent trade union from a few dozen members to 10 million-strong within a year.

It is also a devastating indictment of a country mired in trouble: the swelling foreign debts, the atrocious mismanagement of the economy, the interminable queues, the empty shelves, the sheer ennui of trying to manage one's life amid such chaos.

Solidarity is depicted as the one force that kept Poland from ripping itself apart. Now essentially it is silenced. Its romantic idealism proved no match for the authority of a communist state. Half of the leaders interviewed in this book are now shivering in detention. The virtual eclipse of Solidarity is part of that now too familiar legacy of failed rebellions.

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