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

4.1 out of 5 stars 126 customer reviews

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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: 1868 KB
  • Print Length: 626 pages
  • Publisher: Open Road Media (January 17, 2012)
  • Publication Date: January 17, 2012
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B006OG53X8
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #164,600 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

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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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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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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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I can't say I "enjoyed" this book. Rather, it was very disturbing. The level of corruption on display, throughout the government but within the FBI hierarchy in particular, was stunning. The author seems to have documented even his most salacious allegations, though I could have done without a good deal of the seamy detail he wrapped into the narrative. The obvious conclusion is the J. Edgar Hoover was a deeply disturbed individual who probably should have been fired from the FBI early in his career, and should never have been placed in charge.

The other obvious conclusion is the America does a lousy job of vetting its leaders. Every single president Hoover served, from Coolidge through Nixon, had some sort of sleazy behavior, one or a dozen skeletons hidden in the closet, that Hoover managed to uncover and hold against them to Hoover's advantage. No president was ever willing to fire him, no matter how badly he needed firing. This lesson should serve as stark warning to those who think it's not important to know the backgrounds of those who would serve us in high offices. Skeletons are fodder for extortion from sources within and without the government, to the great loss of the people of this country.
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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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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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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This story was fairly long and detailed. It chronicles his life and, if the author is to be believed, Hoover was just as, if not more powerful than, the president.

Hoover wielded his power to his own benefit, making enemies high and low. Owing to his control of things, Pearl Harbor, it is hinted at, could have been prevented based on knowledge Hoover had from a Soviet spy.

More pictures other than documents would have been appreciated and have helped not only make the book go faster but tie things together.
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