Nancy Oakes's Reviews > J. Edgar Hoover: The Man and the Secrets

J. Edgar Hoover by Curt Gentry
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's review
Feb 12, 2008

really liked it
bookshelves: biography, nonfiction

Personally, I LOVED this book, but I would not recommend it if you're looking for something quick and dirty because it is not a cheap and tawdry or gossipy kind of peek at peccadilloes. That kind of stuff is not why I chose this book, and in fact, I've avoided reading the ones that make tittilation the focus.

First and foremost, you have to read this book through the end. Reading it slowly was a plus. I found myself often going to the internet to get a brief look at topics the author had fleshed out in his writing. Second, the subject matter was frightening, and as the author as pointed out in an epilogue, it's probably still continuing today. As much as I hate to say it, and even more, hate to admit it, the FBI, at least during J Edgar Hoover's term in office (not just according to this author, but to others who've also done copious amounts of research) functioned much as any other government's secret state police did in many areas. I find it appalling that one man and under his stewardship, one organization, could produce such an atmosphere of fear that he had presidents, congressmen, senators, investigation committees and anyone else connected with government afraid to do their jobs. Everyone and anyone even remotely connected with politicians could have been an FBI informant at any time. I tell you, this book really scared me -- American civil liberties were being violated left and right under this man's direction. J. Edgar is one of my favorite topics for non-fiction reading for this very reason. How one man in what is supposed to be a government by the people and for the people could amass so much power and create such an atmosphere is downright amazing. Call me naive, okay? I'm sure this crap is still going on at some level.

I very highly recommend this book to anyone interested in the topic, although as I mentioned, it is a bit of a tough read, not just in terms of subject matter, but in the sheer volume of material. And I have to say, frankly, that I'm more worried about what the author didn't find.
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Comments (showing 1-2 of 2) (2 new)

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Clif Good review. The sad thing is that because of the detail and volume of material in the book, many may be deterred from reading it. It's because people don't want to take the time and effort to learn about a story like this that the kind of things described can continue to happen, even if on a lesser scale. I'd go so far as to say that studying this volume might be more productive than studying the Constitution in school, because the lessons learned show why the rights we have are so important and difficult to guard from those in power.

message 2: by Michael (new)

Michael Would you recommend this book or another for someone interested in the life of J. Edgar and his FBI, as well as the war on organized crime and issues with politicians? I just saw the new bio pic and the section between 40-60's which I was most interested in was left out.

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