Joseph McCarthy & J. Edgar
A persuasive speaker and cunning political
operative, McCarthy was arguably the most powerful senator of the 1950s.
destroyed the personal and professional lives of hundreds of Americans, including some of
the country's most prominent writers and artists. How and why did he do it?
At the heart of these biographies are the stories, not only of infamous
individuals, but also of our past. Each title weaves the complex events of an
era around the life story of an important historical figure.
The Life of J. Edgar Hoover
by Richard Gid Powers
Drawing on previously unknown personal documents,
thousands of FBI files, interviews with former agents, and the presidential papers of nine
administrations, Powers reveals a man of inalterable ideals and convictions who clung to a
private vision of an orderly, traditional America, and who vowed to crush anyone who
Edgar Hoover: The Man and the Secrets
by Curt Gentry
From Kirkus Reviews, 1991
Based on more than 300 interviews and 100,000 pages of previously classified documents,
this enormous, blistering expos seems hellbent on proving that the legendary FBI
director had not feet of clay, but cloven hoofs. Gentry, coauthor of
Helter-Skelter, depicts a bureaucrat par excellence who over 48 years maintained an empire
through secret files that one anonymous politician called ``political cancer.''
Hoover's carefully burnished reputation as the incorruptible defender of the
American way of life was largely a fraud, Gentry argues. Much of this book
provides additional material on how Hoover sought to undermine his long list of enemies,
which included Eleanor Roosevelt, Harry Truman, the Kennedys, Emma Goldman, Martin Luther
King, Jr., and his most enduring nemesis, OSS head ``Wild Bill'' Donovan (whom Hoover
foiled in his ambitions to become attorney-general and CIA director).
important, many revelations here will further tarnish Hoover's reputation, including how
the director suppressed information unfavorable to the Bureau during the Warren
Commission's investigation of JFK's murder; how he destroyed congressmen and even Supreme
Court Associate Justice Abe Fortas; and how he became a ``petty thief'' by
misappropriating government funds and concealing royalties from bestselling books, movies,
and the TV-series
The FBI. Unfortunately, unlike Richard Gid Powers's more balanced and subtle Secrecy
and Power (1987), Gentry scarcely acknowledges Hoover's organizational genius or the
middle-class milieu that was the source of his political and moral conservatism.
A revealing and grimly fascinating political horror tale- -which, however,
too frequently caricatures Hoover as a sinister minence grise rather than as a
20th-century power broker shaped (or misshaped) by his late-Victorian upbringing. --
Copyright ©1991, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.
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