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Puppetmaster: the Secret Life of J. Edgar Hoover.

PUPPETMASTER: THE SECRET LIFE OF J. EDGAR HOOVER. Richard Hack. 2004. Read by Dan Cashman. 9 tapes. 13 hrs. Recorded Books. 1-4025-9076-8. $85.00. Vinyl; content notes. SA

The popular concept of J. Edgar Hoover as America's incorruptible law enforcement giant is called into question as Hack leads listeners through a life focused on image, power, and the cultivation of privilege. Coming to office in the Bureau of Investigation in the 1920s, Hoover served under eight presidents, with varying degrees of support from them, maintaining his power through his command of files that held contents based on surveillance and conjecture. Hack depicts Hoover as in control of a tightly run maverick department rife with cronyism, racial bias, obfuscation, and flouting of citizens' civil liberties. Hoover built his reputation on the apprehension of petty criminals and violators of prohibition; he saw the Vietnam War protests and the Civil Rights Movement as pure lawlessness. He carefully attended to his own comfort, exhibited signs of a non-practicing homosexual, and missed no opportunity to use the media. The author does not entirely ignore positive effects of Hoover's work; he urges historical perspective. Cashman projects the tone of Hack's distaste for much that Hoover was and did and aptly catches Hoover's staccato way of speaking. Edna Boardman, Bismarck, ND

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Author:Boardman, Edna
Article Type:Audiobook Review
Date:Jan 1, 2005
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