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Enemies: A History of the FBI Paperback – February 26, 2013
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“Fast-paced, fair-minded, and fascinating, Tim Weiner’s Enemies turns the long history of the FBI into a story that is as compelling, and important, as today’s headlines.”—Jeffrey Toobin, author of The Oath
“Absorbing . . . a sweeping narrative that is all the more entertaining because it is so redolent with screw-ups and scandals.”—Los Angeles Times
“Fascinating.”—The Wall Street Journal
“Pulitzer Prize–winning author Tim Weiner has written a riveting inside account of the FBI’s secret machinations that goes so deep into the Bureau’s skulduggery, readers will feel they are tapping the phones along with J. Edgar Hoover. This is a book that every American who cares about civil liberties should read.”—Jane Mayer, author of The Dark Side
“Important and disturbing . . . with all the verve and coherence of a good spy thriller.”—The New York Times Book Review
“Exciting and fast-paced.”—The Daily Beast
About the Author
Top Customer Reviews
Weiner calls the FBI "America's Secret Police" . We often think that the FBI's main job is crime fighting but it's actually more anti-terrorism and counter-intelligence. Weiner has been able, again, to base a definitive book upon recently declassified documents, thus there is a lot here which may be news even to FBI buffs.
One of the things I didn't know about (and is revealed here) is that the FBI actually engaged in overseas intelligence work, such as when J. Edgar installed a FBI informant as the President of the Dominican Republic!
It's been commonplace to demonize J. Edgar, but here Weiner is careful to note that the Director wasn't "a monster" but instead compares him to "an American Machiavelli" (still hardly a compliment).
It really reads much like a sequel to his earlier book on the CIA, but this time concentrating on how the FBI works in that same arena.
Solid, readable, meticulously researched... and more than a little controversial.
Not too long ago, Weiner got a call that his 27-year-old Freedom of Information Act request for declassification of J. Edgar Hoover's secret intelligence files had been granted. Three banker's boxes of documents appeared. Together with other recently-declassified files, numerous interviews and other reliable sources, primary and secondary, Weiner crafts (with 60 pages of illuminating endnotes) a riveting and revealing history of the FBI's domestic surveillance.
Weiner recounts the admonitions of Founding Fathers, such as Hamilton and Madison, that a free nation must be ever-vigilant; but, in conducting such vigilance, must not compromise civil liberties. President-by-President, we see a constant tension between the two tenets. The consistent thread, for the first 60 years, is J. Edgar Hoover.
This is not the Hoover of the Clint Eastwood movie. The Hoover Weiner describes as an "American Machiavelli" seems relatively uncomplicated. He always hated Communism. He resisted aiding the civil rights movement (until late, cajoled by LBJ) because he believed the movement was fostered by the Soviet Union and U.S. Communist Party. He had "evidence"--e.g., a close confidant of MLK was a Communist. For Hoover, and many of the Presidents, the end justified the means, unconstitutional as they were. But Weiner points out that even Hoover had his limits. Hoover's refusal to carry out Nixon's directive to spy on Democrats led Nixon to organize "the Plumbers" of Watergate and other disasters.
At the other end of the FBI Director spectrum is Robert Mueller. Weiner recounts how Mueller told G. W.Read more ›
It addresses my interest as to the interaction of the FBI with the CIA. I am aware of the fact that the CIA has no legal domestic police authority, and therefore, in regards its narcotics findings, it sends this intel on to the FBI and other law enforcement organizations for action, yet both the FBI and the CIA are involved with counter-terrorism operations. In fact, according to Weiner, the FBI was more successful in countering the KGB than the CIA, and it was the FBI, rather than the CIA, that succeeded in placing "a spy inside the highest councils of the Soviet Union." Hoover considered "intelligence operations as more crucial than any law enforcement work." By the middle of the Eisenhower years the "Intelligence Division was .. the most powerful force within the Bureau, commanding the most money, the most manpower, and the most attention from the director.Read more ›
Weiner, as was also his pattern in his terrific history of the CIA (Legacy of Ashes), builds context by starting way back. How far back? As far back as the first decade of the 20th century, when Teddy Roosevelt was wrestling with the need for effective sources of domestic and foreign intelligence. Weiner's thorough, but not plodding, reporting uncovers parts of American history that many of us have forgotten, or never knew, such as the many hundreds of episodes of domestic terrorism that occurred during the 20th century, first by the anarchists, later by a variety of groups during the Vietnam War, up to and including the Unabomber and Timothy McVeigh's Oklahoma City bombing. His meticulous approach spotlights the triple threats that presidents from Woodrow Wilson through Barack Obama have asked the assistance of the FBI to deal with: terror from within, national security in time of war (including the Cold War), and foreign-based attempts at terror on U.S. soil, U.S. military bases, and U.S. embassies.
Necessarily, Enemies is also the story of J. Edgar Hoover, who by his mid-20's was the assistant director of the intelligence service that was to become the FBI, and who before he was 30, was appointed to the directorship. He remained director of the FB I until his death at age 77 (allowed to stay on well past the mandatory federal employee retirement age of 70 by presidential waiver).Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
An excellent and revealing history from the beginning under Hoover. Very "eye-opening!"Published 27 days ago by Amazon Customer
It was a good book but it bordered on too long. Great history and an amazing overview. I would recommend.Published 7 months ago by Ian Johnston
This is an incredible book. I am reading the e-book version borrowed from the library and am nearly through--but I may just buy a copy and read it again. Read morePublished 7 months ago by R. A. Hall
This book is truly a hidden gem that paints a picture on an organisation that we all are somewhat familiar with, or at least we thought we were. Read morePublished 10 months ago by K. Russo
Quick easy read, but I thought it focused too much on J. Edgar and high up managers over time instead of specific case examples. I prefer to read about the guys in the trenches. Read morePublished 10 months ago by Joe's Indifference
Not as deep or probative as Weiner's previous work, "Legacy of Ashes," but nonetheless an indispensable resource in its own right.Published 10 months ago by J. Roth
Wow. Just wow. I thought I had a pretty decent knowledge of the FBI when I bought this...I was dead wrong. This book is full of scandal, intrigue and unbelievable history. Read morePublished 10 months ago by AptReader