The Bureau: The Secret History of the FBI
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The Bureau: The Secret History of the FBI

3.55 of 5 stars 3.55  ·  rating details  ·  156 ratings  ·  14 reviews
Great read! First edition 2002
Hardcover, 496 pages
Published May 17th 2002 by St. Martin's Press
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Patrick Farrell
This book was about a mile wide and an inch deep; it covered a wide breadth of topics, but didn't cover any of them in any great detail. It also veered off on tangents and into very ancillary topics. The book wasn't bad per se, but I was hoping for better.
HaQuyen
This book was a:
3 for interest, historical relevance and thorough reporting
2 for writing style/clarity

Really interesting stuff, and you can tell Kessler was well-placed as a journalist to get access to all kinds of documents and interviews other writers may not have. While I wouldn't say this history was unbiased (Kessler had an annoying tendency to editorialize and repeat his opinions on the aspects of the FBI or directors he especially liked or disliked), it did present a picture that was neit...more
Curtis
Obviously very anti-Louis Freeh. In fact by the end that seemed like the entire point of the book. Still good reading for someone who is interested in the FBI, though.
Zach
Pretty good. The history of the creation of the Bureau and its early history are especially interesting. Other books such as Puppet Master by Richard Heck have provided a more detailed history, but Kessler does a decent job of showing how Hoover's ability to manipulate the media/public perception of the Bureau and create the image not only with the public but Congress of the Bureau being the premier law enforcement agency. This is impressive considering early on, agents could only enforce a hand...more
Blake
Oct 22, 2008 Blake rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Anyone interested in law enforcement or intelligence
"The Bureau" is an excellent and well researched book that explores the history, culture, and people of the FBI. While it is dated by a few, and very eventful, years it remains the best comprehensive primer on the FBI. This book is even handed and bolstered by unprecedented access to secretive organizations. "The Bureau" and "The FBI", also by Mr. Kessler, are similar, but "The Bureau" is much better written, more up to date, and includes a more in depth and interesting look at the FBI under the...more
Kory Klimoski
Pretty good consolidated history. The author went from start to finish detailing not only major historical events, but also detailed history of the Directors. He spent almost half the book on Hoover which was fascinating. Another great read!
Cayr
This book was a slogger for me. Took me months to read (when I normally finish a book in a week). Not my typical fare. Parts of it were very interesting (ie: the history of the formation of the FBI and its direction under Hoover, and the final chapters, re: 9/11) Parts of it I had to force myself to read (ie: most of the information about director Freeh, which seemed to be the author's main focus: how the bureau suffered under his direction. Those parts read like a lot of gossip mongering.) Was...more
Elizabeth Sulzby
Sep 18, 2011 Elizabeth Sulzby rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: novices and/or people who watch Boardwalk Empire
Shelves: history-politics
i had read accounts of how the CIA and military were learning to share tools for intelligence, esp. Human intelligence (Humint.) before I read Fair Game by Valerie Pflame, the NOC that Cheney and his crew outed. That made the shift between Patraeus and Gates make sense.

This book gives a similar history and account of FBI changes over time and funding. I was puzzled by some of parts of topics he left out, then I saw how many books he had written and that he is coming from a neocon point of view....more
Chris
A well written, fascinating book, I was amazed at the history of the F.B.I., of some of its current practices, and the courage of those who are F.B.I. agents. The author shows that foibles and misdeeds of past F.B.I. directors, the strengths of the current F.B.I. director, and the benefits and blessings that those who work in the agency provide for United States citizens.
Sean Gannon
From the Hoover years to current FBI. I'm breazing through this book like no other. Detailed info on many infamous blunders like the handling of Waco. Early years FBI where they couldn't carry firearms up to the modern FBI with modern approaches to criminology and inside the mind of many of the most ruthless killers in America.
Michael Whitt
Mar 30, 2010 Michael Whitt is currently reading it  ·  review of another edition
I still like a few chapters reading The Bureau but the book has been a great read. I highly recommend it to anyone that would like to learn more about the FBI. Covering J. Edgar Hoover, Watergate, spy cases, Waco, Ruby Ridge and so many other things. I highly recommend the book.
Katherine Clark
Sep 28, 2011 Katherine Clark is currently reading it
I just started reading this book (after hearing the author interviewed on "Morning Edition") and I love it!!!! Will probably finish this one relatively quickly. Of course, I'm reading it for my second Spies class hopefully being taught in the spring.
Josephine
Jun 12, 2009 Josephine is currently reading it  ·  review of another edition
The history of the FBI is very interesting. Most Americans don't realize how the FBI has shaped our government. So far it's proving to be an interesting read.
Toph White
Kessler is probably the source to get a good run down. His book on the CIA is great too.
Paul
Long, not terribly interesting. Some good background, but overall, not great.
Deb
A bit disjointed, so hard to really become immersed in it.
Art Kubert
Art Kubert marked it as to-read
Jul 28, 2014
Rebekah
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Jul 26, 2014
Jon Hallmark
Jon Hallmark marked it as to-read
Jul 25, 2014
Debbie
Debbie marked it as to-read
May 28, 2014
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May 25, 2014
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Daniel Alvarado marked it as to-read
May 07, 2014
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