THE BUREAU by Diarmuid Jeffreys

THE BUREAU

Inside the Modern FBI
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KIRKUS REVIEW

 A riveting account of today's FBI and its evolution since the J. Edgar Hoover era to fighting more violent and complex crime. British journalist Jeffreys gathered the material for his finely detailed book while producing a television documentary on the Bureau for PBS and England's Channel Four. (It airs in the US in February.) Reflecting its roots in a popular medium, this is no dry academic treatise, but a lively immersion in the day-to-day grind of law enforcement, giving the reader a realistic sense of how cases are conducted by flesh-and-blood agents. The author takes a levelheaded look at Hoover, who since his death in 1972 has been famous mostly for disregarding civil liberties in his obsessive hunt for American communists and for attempting to derail the civil rights movement. Jeffreys fully acknowledges Hoover's faults but gives him credit for having built one of the world's most effective criminal investigation agencies, a benefit to the nation as the FBI has moved on to fight organized crime and terrorism. One of the most intriguing chapters concerns the Bureau's battles against the Mafia using the controversial Racketeer Influenced Corrupt Organization (RICO) statutes. Another noteworthy section deals with FBI agents going undercover to snare criminals, an activity of which Hoover disapproved, partly because of his obsession with good public relations, partly because the very idea of FBI agents posing as criminals conflicted with his idealized vision of squeaky-clean operatives. Jeffreys also discusses the FBI's massive computerized information system, which at its best can provide clues to help bring criminals to justice--and at its worst can get an innocent person in trouble simply for having the same name as a felon. This realistic and fair portrait should be read by anyone with an interest in law enforcement. (2 pages b&w photos, not seen)

Pub Date: Feb. 1st, 1995
ISBN: 0-395-67283-X
Page count: 416pp
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15th, 1994




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