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

Enemies by Tim Weiner
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's review
May 27, 2012

really liked it
Read from May 27 to August 25, 2012

I just completed this book for a goodreads group reading. While I was critical of the authors previous work on the CIA, this book had the context I felt the other was lacking. The author brought forth information on J Edgar Hoover that added to the history of the former director. In addition we see the history of the FBI from a couple of agents up to the modern day fight against terrorism.

At the core of the book is a great analysis of the push and pull of rights versus security. Just what are you going to give up to get security? Is that ratio equal? For example, just how secure do we become when our phone lines are tapped or bugs installed? Is the loss of civil liberties worth the prevention of a terrorist attack? These are the types of questions behind the scenes as I read this book. The author did a great job of allowing the reader to ask and ultimately answer those questions for themselves.

A few interesting facts from the book:
There is no real factual proof of Hoovers homosexuality and cross dressing. Both maybe true, but there is no solid evidence.
During the civil rights fights of the 60s, an FBI informant was in a car which drove up and murdered a civil rights worker.
The FBI routinely bugged and broke into offices and apartments with no authorization.
The FBI still has no authorization in law to exist.

I would recommend this book to anyone with an open mind that would like to discover the context and growth of the FBI. Some of it is not easy to stomach, but to become more informed this is a great place to start.

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