The founding of the F. D. A. and a cross-section of its activities in a discursive, frequently disjointed and redundant, survey that has only timeliness to recommend it over Josephine Hemphill's agreeable and orderly Fruitcake and Arsenic (1962)--and both would benefit from some Consumers Union skepticism. Areas of concern include contamination, additives, labeling, quackery, drug safety (e.g. thalidomide), misuse of barbiturates and amphetamines, home hazards--all represented by cases and some information on control procedures. Since the relevant laws have, in several cases, been extended or tightened recently, the advantage of currency is obvious. The last chapter makes a stab, also, at explaining the issues presently dividing the department, on the one hand, and the manufacturers and suppliers, on the other. But although the book as a whole alerts the reader to dangers, it fails to rally support for further safeguards and stricter enforcement, and as a reference source it fails to provide an intelligible outline of the operations of the agency.