- Paperback: 480 pages
- Publisher: Viral History Press LLC (September 27, 2011)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1619450011
- ISBN-13: 978-1619450011
- Product Dimensions: 6 x 1.2 x 9 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 16 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,992,951 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Young J. Edgar: Hoover and the Red Scare, 1919-1920 Paperback – September 27, 2011
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About the Author
Other books by Kenneth D. Ackerman include (a) BOSS TWEED: the Corrupt Pol who Conceived the Soul of Modern New York; (b) DARK HORSE: The Surprise Election and Political Murder of President James A. Garfield, and (c) THE GOLD RING: Jim Fisk, Jay Gould, and Black Friday 1869.
Top customer reviews
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There are admittedly a number of proofreading errors, but I attribute those to the editors, not the author. There is, for example, a footnote reference to Benjamin Cardozo's succeeding Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr. on the Supreme Court in 1923; it was in fact in 1932 (I assume the numerals were transposed). And there are other minor proofing errors that I wish were not there, but that did damage the effect of Ackerman's research.
And, as another reviewer has said, Ackerman does not engage in hyperbole in attacking J. Edgar Hoover. JEH's shortcomings and defects are obvious enough in his actual conduct and behavior. The author correctly saw that he did not have to add commentary to the documented conduct itself.
This book is just terrific.
The Post-WWI Red Scare was a highly complex phenomenon, just like the early Cold War Red Scare, yet the author manages to guide the reader through a Byzantine series of events by focusing on a single character, none other than J. Edgar Hoover, whose own career ambitions appear to have led him to be the spark plug behind the deportation of thousands of suspected communists and anarchists. Among other things, this book helps to illustrate the way that even broad social trends and sweeps of history can be influenced by one person at the right place at the right time. Or wrong person at wrong time, depending on your point of view. If a different person had been in his position, the bombing of Palmer's house might have slowly fizzled out. Thanks to Hoover's drive and ambition, it turned into one of the worst episodes in national history, in terms of respect for law and Constitution. Or, from another point of view, Hoover, by pluck and determination, cut through his own version of gridlock to achieve results against a national threat. Pick your interpretation; you'll find justification for both.
And, as others have noted, the writing is as gripping as a good thriller novel. It was hard to put the book down, but I did so in order to enjoy it across more days.
I enjoyed this book a lot and believe I understand the time period better by having read it.