J. EDGAR HOOVER

THE MAN AND THE SECRETS

Based on more than 300 interviews and 100,000 pages of previously classified documents, this enormous, blistering exposÇ 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). More 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 Çminence grise rather than as a 20th-century power broker shaped (or misshaped) by his late-Victorian upbringing. (Seventy-one b&w photographs.)

Pub Date: Sept. 16, 1991

ISBN: 0-393-02404-0

Page Count: 864

Publisher: Norton

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 1991

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An engrossing memoir as well as a lively treatise on what extraordinary grace under extraordinary pressure looks like.

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BECOMING

The former first lady opens up about her early life, her journey to the White House, and the eight history-making years that followed.

It’s not surprising that Obama grew up a rambunctious kid with a stubborn streak and an “I’ll show you” attitude. After all, it takes a special kind of moxie to survive being the first African-American FLOTUS—and not only survive, but thrive. For eight years, we witnessed the adversity the first family had to face, and now we get to read what it was really like growing up in a working-class family on Chicago’s South Side and ending up at the world’s most famous address. As the author amply shows, her can-do attitude was daunted at times by racism, leaving her wondering if she was good enough. Nevertheless, she persisted, graduating from Chicago’s first magnet high school, Princeton, and Harvard Law School, and pursuing careers in law and the nonprofit world. With her characteristic candor and dry wit, she recounts the story of her fateful meeting with her future husband. Once they were officially a couple, her feelings for him turned into a “toppling blast of lust, gratitude, fulfillment, wonder.” But for someone with a “natural resistance to chaos,” being the wife of an ambitious politician was no small feat, and becoming a mother along the way added another layer of complexity. Throw a presidential campaign into the mix, and even the most assured woman could begin to crack under the pressure. Later, adjusting to life in the White House was a formidable challenge for the self-described “control freak”—not to mention the difficulty of sparing their daughters the ugly side of politics and preserving their privacy as much as possible. Through it all, Obama remained determined to serve with grace and help others through initiatives like the White House garden and her campaign to fight childhood obesity. And even though she deems herself “not a political person,” she shares frank thoughts about the 2016 election.

An engrossing memoir as well as a lively treatise on what extraordinary grace under extraordinary pressure looks like.

Pub Date: Nov. 13, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-5247-6313-8

Page Count: 448

Publisher: Crown

Review Posted Online: Nov. 30, 2018

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The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the...

NIGHT

Elie Wiesel spent his early years in a small Transylvanian town as one of four children. 

He was the only one of the family to survive what Francois Maurois, in his introduction, calls the "human holocaust" of the persecution of the Jews, which began with the restrictions, the singularization of the yellow star, the enclosure within the ghetto, and went on to the mass deportations to the ovens of Auschwitz and Buchenwald. There are unforgettable and horrifying scenes here in this spare and sombre memoir of this experience of the hanging of a child, of his first farewell with his father who leaves him an inheritance of a knife and a spoon, and of his last goodbye at Buchenwald his father's corpse is already cold let alone the long months of survival under unconscionable conditions. 

The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the sphere of suffering shared, and in this case extended to the death march itself, there is no spiritual or emotional legacy here to offset any reader reluctance.

Pub Date: Jan. 16, 2006

ISBN: 0374500010

Page Count: 120

Publisher: Hill & Wang

Review Posted Online: Oct. 7, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2006

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