FIRST, a confession. I am not indifferent to Poland. But for the Holocaust and its immediate aftermath, I would have undoubtedly been born a Polish son. Though a citizen of the United States, I consider myself a casualty of Poland -- not one of its ghosts, of which there are millions, but one of its orphans, of which there are a sizable number as well. Bringing these heartfelt feelings of loss and displacement to Jan T. Gross' "Fear: Anti-Semitism in Poland After Auschwitz -- An Essay in Historical Interpretation" makes for an especially powerful and, yes, painful reading experience. Though gripping, the book is not a page turner. It's more like a literary exercise in wincing and squirming. Indeed, "Fear" succeeds precisely because of how well it disturbs. It is illuminating and searing, a moral indictment delivered with cool, lawyerly efficiency that pounds away at the conscience with the sledgehammer of a verdict.