A unique history of the FBI as a bureaucratic organism by the Washington editor of the Atlantic. Written with low-keyed...

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FBI

A unique history of the FBI as a bureaucratic organism by the Washington editor of the Atlantic. Written with low-keyed detachment, the book charts not merely Hoover's idiosyncrasies (""sometimes hopelessly out of touch with the reality of changing times. Above all, a lonely man"") but the abilities of present director Clarence Kelley (who balances old-liners and reformers), and a web of infights during the Watergate interregnum. Ungar describes interstate law-enforcement as the preoccupation of field offices, and intelligence-processing on the fingerprint level as the ""guts"" of the Washington bureau, concluding that ""the wave of the future would appear to be an emphasis on the creative and innovative agent over the old-fashioned gumshoe."" The book refers to past illegal activity on the part of the FBI-men in their capacity as political police, but remains incurious about such subjects by comparison with the nuances of promotion, inter-agency competition and training, and observes that younger FBI agents regard political work as ""outmoded and overdone."" A broad audience will be intrigued by the book--some reassured, others skeptical about the beneficence of a ""creative and innovative"" FBI.

Pub Date: March 15, 1976

ISBN: N/A

Page Count: -

Publisher: Atlantic/Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: N/A

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 1976