Books: The Permanent Despotism

JOURNEY FOR OUR TIME (338 pp.)—Astolphe de Custine—Pellegrini & Cudahy ($4).

In 1839, as in 1950, even the friendliest traveler had a stiff time getting into Russia. French Marquis Astolphe de Custine, warmly pro-Russian, was astonished at the questions he got at the frontier.

"What are you going to do in Russia?"

"See the country."

"That is not a motive for traveling."

"I have no other."

"Whom do you intend to see in Petersburg?"

"Any persons who will allow me to make their acquaintance."

"How long do you expect to stay in Russia?"

"I do not know."

"Say approximately."

"Several months."

"Do you have a public diplomatic mission?"

"No."

"Secret?"

"No . . ."

"Why did...

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