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Young J. Edgar: Hoover and the Red Scare, 1919-1920 Paperback – September 27, 2011
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From Publishers Weekly
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Top Customer Reviews
This is more than a bio of one man, it is a bio of the times. I did not know that Hoover cut his bureaucratic teeth on the Red Scare, so this book rounds out his portrait for me.
Ackerman's engaging prose brings to life the colorful people of the times. He presents Palmer in all his complexity. President Wilson is totally detached not only from the Red Scare but also the upcoming election where he has a son-in-law in contention. The totally obscure Louis Post is a true hero. Many great legal minds, Frankfurter, Darrow, Cardozo, Holmes and others play a role. I had not known of the eccentric millionaire socialist Lloyd before nor the colorful immigration official from California, Caminetti.
The most intriguing story of all, of course, is Hoover's. The reader learns how his character and style were formed. As a young man he got away with a tremendous breach of the US Constitution and he lied to his mentors. He knew how and when to be on and off the stage and who to play up to. He was probably given a pass for his presumed honesty, long hours of work and his youth.
I was struck by narrow the decision making. Only a few people held the reins than made life impossible for many. While the book doesn't spell it out, I would imagine people lost their homes (be they foreclosures or evictions) and children went hungry. None of the perpetrators suffered much. Hoover went on to great "success", Caminetti went on to comfortable obscurity and Wilson is heralded for his international vision. Palmer suffers somewhat but not in proportion to his deeds. The main hero is virtually unknown to history.
Understanding Hoover is critical to viewing the evolution of law and individual rights in America during the 20th century. For good or bad, he certainly had an impact during his half-century tenure and as Ackerman summarizes "Of all the experiences shaping him . . . none loomed larger that the Red Raids." The author gives us an excellent account of these events, the times, and important players including Felix Frankfurter, Oliver Wendell Holmes, and Clarence Darrow.
A very good book and very well-written!
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Once a kind of super-hero, J. Edgar Hoover, builder of the FBI, may have become an American Ozymandias: two vast and trunkless feet of clay, plus some fading boasts! Read morePublished 14 months ago by Jack11615
This is a meticulously documented book by a friend of minePublished 16 months ago by mmcleodamcom99
I enjoyed the book on the whole. The author doesn't go into the orgy of Hoover bashing usually found. He is a liberal and a definite bias shows in his presentation. Read morePublished on December 13, 2013 by D. L. Davis
Mr. Ackerman's book is well researched and very readable. Those of you who have read the Church Committee's report (Book III, starting at page 382) will note the accuracy in Mr. Read morePublished on March 2, 2013 by T. Forrestall
Mr. Ackerman does an excellent job of re-telling the history so many other historians have chosen to forget. Read morePublished on February 23, 2013 by FuzzyBlackLips
Chock full of facts and observations of this time period, as well as a comprehensive biography of young Hoover. I would recommend this bookPublished on September 9, 2012 by RJ
There are some interesting books out now about the 1919--1920 time period in the USA. Savage Peace: Hope and Fear in America, 1919 appears more comprehensive than this work, but... Read morePublished on January 28, 2012 by Derek Grimmell
This was a pretty weak book. Although the former FBI director was a man worth reading about, this work might not be the best place to learn about him. Read morePublished on July 10, 2011 by J. Smallridge