Young people deserve more realism than Ms. Friedman is willing to give them in this ""historically accurate and true account of the life and times of Tilmon B. O'Bryant,"" the first black Assistant Chief of the Washington, D.C. police force. Raised in poverty in pre-World War II Washington's black ghetto, O'Bryant encountered racial prejudice and humiliation throughout his life. As an army draftee he was denied promotion twice by bigoted superiors and was threatened with court martial for not ""knowing his place."" Yet, always confident that he would succeed if judged on his own merits, he waited years for promotions on the Washington police force despite his high IQ and outstanding performance. Surely he must have made a few mistakes, but the episodic narrative presents him as a superman: he tracks down and captures elusive criminals within a day and quells riots and extracts confessions apparently through force of personality. ""You're one of the few cops that the people will talk to,"" says Mayor Walter Washington as he hands O'Bryant another impossible assignment. The book does succeed in depicting the depths of racial prejudice within our society and the frustrations of the talented black man who only wants to be treated as the equal of whites. But O'Bryant with some of his warts would be more inspiring than this comic strip version.