by Curt Gentry
2001, W.W. Norton & Company
848 pages, illustrated
From Library Journal
Since his death in 1972, there has been an increasing fascination with Hoover and the immense power he wielded as director of the FBI. Although there have been two recent major biographies—Athan G. Theoharis’s The Boss and Richard G. Powers’s Secrecy and Power—this massive new study promises to be the most extensive and controversial yet. Gentry, who coauthored Helter Skelter, has based his account of Hoover on more than 300 interviews and on access to previously classified FBI documents. Beginning with a behind-the-scenes description of Hoover’s death and the search for his “secret files” that is novelistic in technique, Gentry paints a portrait of Hoover as the “indispensable man,” with many provocative revelations about his political dealings. This is a chilling look at the darker side of American politics, especially concerning Hoover’s enemies list and his relentless investigation of Martin Luther King Jr.’s personal life. The book’s lively readability is balanced by lengthy footnotes and by an extensive list of source notes and interviews, and it will be in demand in both academic and public libraries.
– Thomas A. Karel, Franklin & Marshall Coll. Lib., Lancaster, Pa.
THIS BOOK IS IN PRINT. Available commercially. Learn more about Curt Gentry.