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Official and Confidential: The Secret Life of J. Edgar Hoover [Kindle Edition]

Anthony Summers
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (91 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Anthony Summers peels back layers of fact and hearsay to reveal the truth about one of the most powerful Americans of the twentieth century
 
No one exemplified paranoia and secrecy at the heart of American power better than J. Edgar Hoover, the original director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation. For this consummate biography, renowned investigative journalist Anthony Summers interviewed more than eight hundred witnesses and pored through thousands of documents to get at the truth about the man who headed the FBI for fifty years, persecuted political enemies, blackmailed politicians, and lived his own surprising secret life. Ultimately, Summers paints a portrait of a fatally flawed individual who should never have held such power, and for so long.


Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Summers's expose throws light on Hoover's relentless corruption and other skeletons in his closet. Photos.
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc.

Review

“I read Official and Confidential with mounting horror, fascination, revulsion . . . Enthralling.” —Paul Theroux
 
“An important book that should give us all pause, especially policy makers.” —The Philadelphia Inquirer
 
“Summers’ book is not just a history of a single hero-sized hypocrite, it is a history of a vast national delusion.” —The Spectator 

Product Details

  • File Size: 1098 KB
  • Print Length: 626 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0091941776
  • Publisher: Open Road Media (January 17, 2012)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B006OG53X8
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #109,541 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
43 of 46 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Man of Contradictions January 21, 2008
Format:Hardcover
Anthony Summers presents J. Edgar Hoover as a man who insisted his agents lead a monastic life style while he enjoyed good whisky, gambling, and free vacations. He vilified homosexuals while himself involved with a male partner and he was capable of cross-dressing at private parties. He portrayed himself as the bulwark against crime yet coddled the Mafia and resisted any attempt at stopping their illegal activities. Ranted against communism but diverted resources to concentrate on building files on U.S. Congressmen and politicians without effectively stopping the Soviet intelligence attack throughout the cold war.

It is a frightening story of political maneuvering, blackmailing and excesses solely to maintain power. Summer's book includes extensive notes and bibliography. Written in 1993 it does not deal with the great failures that have been revealed in the past fifteen years such as the Robert Hanssen and Aldrich Ames cases. It does imply that Hoover's emphasis of show and power could have resulted in the FBI functioning to fit his image and maintain his power base at the expense of protecting American Security.
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17 of 17 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating and eye-opening October 17, 2007
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
A truly interesting book. I have to say that it changed my view on the legendary man, and opens my eyes to how power corrupts. It's a bit long, but I'd recommend this to anyone interested in American politics in the 20th century.
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21 of 24 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent biography on J. Edgar Hoover! November 24, 1999
Format:Hardcover
Once I had begun to read this book, it took everything I had to put it down in order to get some sleep and do my schoolwork. The power that Hoover possessed and how he fed on the fears of government officials who tried to kick him out, is absolutly fantastic to read about. To learn how corrupt the man who was considered by many to be an American hero was proved to be among the many elements of this book that keeps you wanting to read it. I had no idea that Hoover was a closet transvestite until I read this book, but now I enjoy reading this book, both for pleasure and research. I recommend it to anyone who wants to read some interesting stuff!
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17 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Intriguing,Interesting, Disturbing. October 7, 1999
Format:Paperback
"Official And Confidential" is a great work that serves as a document about the abuses of power due to one man's private perversions. Summers writes an incredibly powerful book that explores many, many subjects. Never did I think one man could have so much control, I was proven wrong by this great work. J.Edgar Hoover was a man with mental problems that were secret perversions, he used it to his use. This book is like watching a great movie. It has all the elements of a great dramatic thriller. We explore the shadowy truths behind the assassinations of JFK, Robert Kennedy and Martin Luther King. Even the death of John Dillinger is questioned here. "Official & Confidential" can also serve as a study of the perversions of power and government. The myth of the conservative 50s and 60s is shattered here. There was more going on behind the curtain of power than we knew. This is a masterpiece.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A "tell all" book about J Edgar. December 7, 2011
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
This book is must read for all those who are interested in the theory of a "shadow government" in America. It also ties in well with many of the books written about the JFK administration and political assassination. Nevertheless the book seems to be well researched with lots of notes in the back section. It is also a good companion book to another Anthony Summers book, "Not in Your Lifetime".
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars How power corrupts ... March 14, 2012
Format:Paperback
Mesmerizing. The bio sets out the life of the man - J Edgar Hoover - who ruled America under the auspices of the FBI from the 1930s until his death - in office - in the early 1970s, on the eve of Watergate. Hoover was the ultimate JR (Dallas) who through collecting dirt on White House incumbents was able to wield power way beyond that of the presidency of the day. Due to the Mafia having evidence of Hoover's sexual inclinations he had an "understanding" with them and allowed them to run their businesses with impunity. Throughout his decades of heading the FBI he was viewed as untouchable ... a state of affairs that seems almost surreal especially considering that his relationship with his assistant, Clyde Tolson, was obviously homosexual. The butchiest institution in the world was run by two queens - truly the weirdest Riley's Believe it or not ever !
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The unelected government August 17, 2013
By TLR
Format:Hardcover
A fascinating expose of Hoover's personal and professional life, with lots of tantalizing anecdotes like this one:

Billy Byars Sr., Humble Oil millionaire from Tyler, Texas, was very close to Hoover. Phone logs show that Hoover called only three people the afternoon President Kennedy was shot: Robert Kennedy, the head of the Secret Service, and Byars. Byars Sr., is dead. His son, Billy Jr., told Summers in 1988 how close his father was to Hoover. Hoover would talk constantly about his bad relations with the Kennedys. He says he once asked him about the assassination. "I asked him, 'Do you think Lee Harvey Oswald did it?' And he stopped and he looked at me for quite a long time. Then he said, 'If I told you what I really know, it would be very dangerous to this country. Our whole political system could be disrupted.' That's all he said, and I could see he wasn't about to say any more."

Being a supporter of gay rights, Hoover's personal life would normally be of no interest to me. But his public hypocrisy and persecution of anyone who didn't fit the Boy Scout ideal he had in his head (and his obvious inability to live up to that ideal) makes for a fascinating psycho-history, and helps us to understand many of his actions as FBI Director.

This book is also a warning to Americans to stop focusing so much time and energy on elected partisan officials, and to more closely examine the vast unelected government that continues no matter which party is in power.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Indictment of US Politicians
If even 1% of this story is true then J. Edgar Hoover was truely a bastard. What's even worse is the fact our major politicians all bowed down to him and none of them fired him... Read more
Published 11 days ago by rickeitt
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Excellent
Published 1 month ago by carlos
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
EXCELLENT!!
Published 1 month ago by jumpy
5.0 out of 5 stars What you didn't know.
The book brings you into the dark side of the FBI. It traces the career of J. Edgar Hoover from childhood to his death. Read more
Published 2 months ago by Brian Morgan
5.0 out of 5 stars Jaw Dropping
"The Secret Life of J. Edgar Hoover" by Anthony Summers is a jaw-dropping account of the public and private life of America's most famous FBI G-man. Read more
Published 2 months ago by E. Joseph Anna
5.0 out of 5 stars The truth at last
If even one tenth of this book is true then this is the most vile and evil individual to have been American. What a phony and disgrace. Read more
Published 4 months ago by james goode
4.0 out of 5 stars We'll written
The author has used great research to tell a story that everyone should know. A great read even though a frightening abuse of power on the part of the Director of a powerful... Read more
Published 4 months ago by Judith Isenhour
5.0 out of 5 stars Solid Research
Apparently based on solid research. If you are expecting the National Inquirer, you will be disappointed. Well written and thoughtful. Read more
Published 5 months ago by Ron
5.0 out of 5 stars Well thought out.
This book takes a look at Hovers many misdeeds. After cross referencing other notable books, there seems to be many many valid studies and stories relating to this authors writing. Read more
Published 7 months ago by A. D., Begin
5.0 out of 5 stars History exposed.
Isn't it interesting that the public gets informed of a tyrant years later? Want to know why that the Johnson archives in Texas are still held in a state of National Security and... Read more
Published 7 months ago by William E. Gleason
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