The origin, development, and first years of power of the Federal Securities and Exchange Commission are the subject of Professor de Bedts' intensive yet very readable study. He sees the SEC and the laws which it was created to administer as an example of the New Deal at its best and most successful. Beginning with a brief but sufficiently illuminating excursion into the historical necessities, he demonstrates how closely a part of FDR's personal credo the agency was; ""Business,"" said, Roosevelt, ""should be subjected, through the power of government, to drastic legal limitation against abuses."" And, when he got his way, it certainly was, with ""the most effectively drawn pieces of legislation ever enacted"" and the brilliant chairmanship of Joseph P. Kennedy, James Landis, William Douglas, and Jerome Frank. Still, the tone of the commission's activities was consistently one of ""pragmatic reasonableness."" The chapters describing the implacable but doomed resistance of the Stock Exchange, under the rule of that ""somewhat incredible personality"" Richard Whitney, and of the public utilities combines, should absorb even the most unfinancial of readers. A worthwhile tribute to an era.