Ben's Reviews > Enemies: A History of the FBI

Enemies by Tim Weiner
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's review
Mar 07, 2012

liked it
Read from February 22 to March 07, 2012

In many ways this is an impressive book, covering over 100 years of history that touches on basically almost every major domestic occurrence of violence and most foreign ones too. What holds me back from more stars is it just wasn't as good as Legacy of Ashes. I think part of that reflects the fact that the FBI is just more complicated. It's been around for longer and had to deal with both domestic and foreign issues simultaneously. But I think the biggest difficulty with this one compared to Legacy of Ashes is that the latter had a more straightforward and simpler argument--the CIA, which we think of as being highly competent and successful has actually just been a bumbling, incompetent organization for most of its time. There isn't such a clear-cut story with the FBI. Many times over the years it was highly successful-the Klan, the communist party, for example. Add to that the complexity of dealing with a larger than life character like J. Edgar Hoover and it's clear that the task here was tougher. Long story short, it's a good read, but if you only pick one, I'd read Legacy of Ashes.

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02/23/2012 page 46
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