The only reason to read this is to get some interesting insight in how the people of the 70's (or at least Brurnner of the 70's) saw the near future. The book extrapolates the worst of the times and assumes that America goes down hill fast including regression on social issues such as civil rights. Ironically it also assumes that USSR becomes a bastion of freedom and hope for the world and touts the success of "planned economies". Given what actually happened from now until then, it seems like a hopelessly inaccurate view of the way the world was and the way it works.
On the Sci Fi side, there is no interesting interaction with aliens (except as a "tease" in the cover and the plotline), no insightful technology breakthroughs, no interesting characters. It does have a horribly pessimistic dark view of the future and the people in it.
The time is the future. The place, an America so isolated by fear that it is cut off from the rest of the world by a massive defence system. Into this armed, barricaded state comes a young Russian scientist bearing a strange and almost unbelievable story: Superior, intelligent life - on a far higher order than any on earth - has been detected near the planet Pluto. Immune themselves by virtue of their far greater intelligence, these aliens are about to destroy the planet Earth.