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J. Edgar Hoover: The Man and His Secrets

by Curt Gen­try
2001, W.W. Nor­ton & Com­pa­ny
ISBN 0393321282
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 [1].