Books: To Be or Not To Be

A WARSAW DIARY: 1978-81 by Kazimierz Brandys, translated by Richard Lourie; Random House; 260 pages; $17.95

"They live in a civilization; we live in a drama," notes Kazimierz Brandys in his terse daybook.

"They" are the nations of Western Europe; "we" are the people of Poland. Bran dys, 67, is a Polish novelist who resigned from the Communist Party 17 years ago to protest government publish ing restrictions. He withdrew from official literary activities and eventually co-found ed Zapis, an independent quarterly that first printed portions of his Diary. In 1981, a week before the Jaruzelski government declared martial law, Brandys and...

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