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THE TRUE STORY OF J. EDGAR HOOVER AND THE F.B.I. by Barry Denenberg

THE TRUE STORY OF J. EDGAR HOOVER AND THE F.B.I.

By Barry Denenberg

Age Range: 12 & up

Pub Date: April 1st, 1993
ISBN: 0-590-43168-4
Publisher: Scholastic

 Denenberg knows how to capture his audience: he introduces Hoover's FBI by showing how, under Hoover's supervision, the bureau was able to manipulate its own image on network TV. In a vigorous, attractive, and accessible style, he documents how Hoover took over an ineffective agency and used his organizational talent to mold it in his own image. Properly critical of Hoover's attempts to mute criticism, stifle opponents, and grab credit for others' achievements, the author also shows how Hoover amassed power with the cooperation of the sensationalist press in the 20's and 30's and of FDR at the start of WW II, and how he maintained it with the help of sympathetic- -and sycophantic--legislators. Readers may be outraged by the way Hoover ignored the growing power of organized crime and by his wholesale disregard of constitutional rights; Denenberg makes a convincing case for the importance of the 1971 exposure of FBI investigation of noncriminal antiwar activity in Hoover's eventual fall. The account ends with Hoover's death; the FBI's history since would make a valuable sequel. An excellent revisionist view and an instructive contrast to the admiring biographies of the 50's and 60's. Time line; source list; bibliography. B&w photos & index not seen. (Biography. 12+)