Because of its accent on the human side, this is one of the best FBI books we've read in years and far more revealing than Tully's The FBI's Most Famous Cases (p. 1026). Cochran's cases are petty investigations about prostitutes, pimps, Mann Act cases, kooks who give phony confessions, a few bank robbers of no stature, a mock ex-convict who is milking a relief agency, and so on. The time span is from Cochran's first training as a rookie agent until the outbreak of World War II, about five years. To be sure, there is some embarrassing rah-rah Bureau hyperbole, as this description of J. Edgar Hoover: ""...a sturdy, stocky man who might have been forty, or older, with a shock of raven-black hair on a rock-hewn massive head. Dark, searching eyes in a full, tanned face stared at us sternly, his earnest, staccato words of advice pelting us with machinegun precision."" And there is more laudatory material about agents and division chiefs. But all of this is presented in a mirror of the Depression years, and the tracking of Commies is mercifully absent. Cochran tells about his early training and long probationary period before becoming a full-fledged agent, and conveys much affection for his fellow rookies and stern superiors. Among other things he learned a certain necessary callousness toward criminals, which, he says, is a state of mind that saves lives.