Books: Keeper of the Flame

EMERGENCY EXIT by Ignazio Silone. 207 pages. Harper & Row. $6.95.

At 68, Ignazio Silone is one of the world's few gainfully employed freelance socialists. He adopted this rubric 40 years ago, after a series of political and moral crises persuaded him that Russian-dominated Communism was a perversion of Marxist and humanitarian ideals. He had been a founder of the Italian Communist Party, a shadow person in the anti-Fascist underground, a delegate to Moscow convocations of the faithful and an exile from Mussolini's Italy. In 1930, he settled in Switzerland, and stayed for 14 years, writing novels. His best was Bread and...