G-Man: J. Edgar Hoover and the Making of the American Century

Books on Tape. Nov. 2022. 36:37 hrs. ISBN 9780593628959. $95. HIST
Gage (history, Yale Univ.; The Day Wall Street Exploded) offers a significant new biography detailing the life of J. Edgar Hoover, who served as the FBI director from 1924 to 1972. Gage’s brilliant account begins with Hoover’s less-than-perfect childhood in Washington, DC, then moves through his challenging adolescence, his time in law school, and his tenure with the Justice Department at age 22. By the time he began his law enforcement career, Hoover had firmly developed his commitment to government service and his unfaltering conservative views toward race, religion, and left-wing threats. Gage analyzes Hoover’s years with the FBI, covering his early efforts to build and organize the organization, his open hostility toward women and people of color, his reluctant entry into fighting organized crime, his domestic surveillance activities, his harassment of Martin Luther King Jr., and his lifelong obsession with fighting communism. The author also discusses the influence that Hoover wielded over eight U.S. presidents and numerous other powerful politicians.
VERDICT Narrator Gabra Zackman provides a solid, clear presentation of Hoover’s life, giving momentum to Gage’s meticulous examination of this consequential figure. This impressive work will appeal to all historians and fans of the books of Ron Chernow, David McCullough, and Jon Meacham.
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