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May 12, 1985|JOHN KISSELL

CONTRASTS: SOVIET AND AMERICAN THINKERS DISCUSS THE FUTURE by Wiktor Osiatynski (Macmillan; $19.95). Polish journalist Wiktor Osiatynski has done a remarkable job in this book of 22 interviews with leading scientists and intellectuals from the Soviet Union and the United States. Osiatynski's range of interests is impressive, as is his ability to bring out the best in his subjects. In an easy manner, though sometimes confrontational, he makes these formidable intellects explain their theories in clear, everyday language. The result is twofold: Modern science becomes accessible, and the scientists themselves become full characters in their own right--witty, compassionate, at times impatient. This book can be read on several levels: as a clear enunciation of the present state of science in the Soviet Union and the United States and the prospects for the future; as an introduction to the leading personalities and intellects in science today; and as an instrument of dialogue and understanding with "peaceful coexistence" as its goal. Whatever the priority, "Contrasts" is a fine book, worthy of attention.

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