cover image J. Edgar Hoover: A Graphic Biography

J. Edgar Hoover: A Graphic Biography

Rick Geary, . . Hill & Wang, $16.95 (102pp) ISBN 978-0-8090-9503-2

Geary returns to the finely detailed style of historical case study made so fascinating in his Library of Victorian Murder series, this time moving away from visceral horror to the arena of political power and the transgressions wrought by those who wield it. He traces the life and career of the creator of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, weaving a compelling portrait of a man isolated by authority and his desire for secrecy while simultaneously making a name for himself and his agency in the war against organized crime. But behind the details known to the public were petty power plays, possible connections to La Cosa Nostra and rumors of homosexuality and cross-dressing. All surrounded a government official whose ultraconservative ways and fascistic tactics bordered on the criminal when they suited his goals, and led Eleanor Roosevelt to consider the FBI one step away from becoming an American Gestapo. Encompassing events from the Great Depression, WWII, McCarthyism, the Cold War, the Kennedy administration, the Civil Rights movement and Watergate, Geary’s work serves as an engrossing, easy to take history lesson. (Jan.)