This book is a three-layered story. The first layer is the work of the Union of Councils for Soviet Jews Chicago Action for Soviet Jewry (CASJ) in particular. The second layer focuses on the campaign to gain freedom for the former Soviet scientist and poet, Yuri Tarnopolsky. (Memoirs of 1984, also published by University Press of America, is Tarnopolsky's first-person account of his experience.) When he applied to emigrate in 1979 from the USSR, he became a refusenik and was subsequently arrested on trumped up charges in 1983, condemned to three years in a Siberian prison camp. The third layer is Nancy Rosenfeld's own personal story. Rosenfeld, an upper-middle-class suburban Chicago housewife, became actively involved with the refusenik movement in 1982, the year a world-wide campaign was launched to rescue Tarnopolskly. She spearheaded this dramatic effort under the auspices of CASJ through telephone calls, letter-writing campaigns, and lobbying which were coordinated with similar efforts throughout the U.S. and France.
Rosenfeld became so involved in the cause that after Tarnopolsky's ultimate release and emigration she suffered a nervous breakdown due to the void the triumph had left. This book lists an arsenal of methods that can be used in a campaign against individual human rights violations. This is the first time the Soviet Jewry Movement in America has been documented.