The True Story of J. Edgar Hoover and the FBI

Barry Denenberg, Author, Barry Deneberg, Author Scholastic $13.95 (202p) ISBN 978-0-590-43168-2
This absorbing and detailed historical survey begins with the FBI's founding in 1908 (as the Bureau of Investigation) and concludes with the 1972 death of its controversial, longtime chief. Denenberg, the author of Nelson Mandela: No Easy Walk to Freedom , organizes his material around the significant events of the nearly 50 years that Hoover's presence affected--both positively and negatively--American political and social history. With a refreshingly skeptical yet straightforward tone, Denenberg presents extensive discussions of such topics as gangsterism during prohibition years, the red-baiting of the '50s, the active subversion of the civil rights and Black Power Movements, and domestic counterintelligence and illegal activities by the Bureau against anti-Vietnam War activists. Though Hoover's relationships with the various presidents are examined, it is his own personality that totally dominates throughout. Prudence may have dictated that recent scandalous revelations--detailed in Anthony Summers's biography for adults--be omitted here; by virtue of the import of these omissions, this work cannot be considered the complete portrait. Nonetheless, it remains a solid, workmanlike--and age-appropriate--biography. Ages 10-up. (Apr.)
Reviewed on: 03/29/1993
Release date: 04/01/1993
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