The Union Station Massacre: The Making of J. Edgar Hoover's FBI

Robert Unger, Author Andrews McMeel Publishing $22.95 (256p) ISBN 978-0-8362-2773-4
The generally accepted version of the events of June 17, 1933, aka the ""Union City Massacre"" or the ""Kansas City Massacre,"" has notorious outlaws Verne Miller, ""Pretty Boy"" Floyd and Adam Richetti leaving carnage in their wake--one FBI agent killed, at least two others wounded, and two Kansas City detectives and one Oklahoma sheriff killed--as they tried to spring notorious bank-robber Frank Nash from FBI custody. Not so, says veteran journalist Unger, now head of the Urban Journalism Project at the University of Missouri-Kansas City. Unger believes that the killings were accidental shootings by an FBI agent during the gunfight, and that the eventual conviction and execution of Richetti for the death of one detective was a result of perjury by FBI agents and officials. Unger's trump card is his access under the Freedom of Information Act to the FBI's 20,000-page file on the killings and their aftermath. Unfortunately, though Unger's take seems logically supportable, a paucity of direct quotations from the file means that readers must rely on his interpretation of it for his conclusions. In any case, he weaves his text in tight, level prose that carries an authoritative air. These days, it's unlikely that anyone will be surprised by Hoover's evident perfidy--but Unger does make the important point that Hoover never changed in all the years that he ran the FBI. He was, seemingly, corrupt and venal from the beginning. Photos. (Oct.)
Reviewed on: 04/28/1997
Release date: 05/01/1997
Genre: Nonfiction
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