Barry Gottehrer, a 30-year-old Herald Tribune reporter, served Mayor John Lindsay as a liaison with the various ethnic and racial communities of New York City. What Barry Gottehrer learned, as a Mayoral Assistant, was the rather fine art of crowd control -- how and when to intervene to defuse situations that in other cities, Newark and Detroit most notably, resulted in major urban rioting. Gottehrer describes himself hanging out in his favorite Harlem bar, dealing with hustlers and street people, talking to them and finding out what would keep them quiet and off the streets. He functioned, in short, as a fixer. The student of urban politics, looking for political gossip about the inner circle of the Lindsay administration, will find precious little in this account. Nor is there any sustained attempt at analysis of the events which Gottehrer describes in the book -- the Ocean Hill-Brownsville school disputes, the Columbia University troubles, prison riots and Yippie demonstrations. A succession of personages who were at the center of New York's political struggles through those years appears in the pages of the book, characters ranging from Abby Hoffman to Albert Shanker, police officials at all levels and various commissioners and City Hall denizens. But we meet them as they pass through Gottehrer's experience and they appear as figures in anecdotes, not fully fleshed. Barry Gottehrer has written a professional journalist's account of his own experience, interspersed with brief backward glances of evaluation. From this venue the critical reader will have to judge the reliability and sophistication of the reporter, and to draw whatever conclusions there may be lurking behind the facts.