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Looking at 1920: A Hundred Years Later: J.Edgar Hoover
The year 1920 was one of the most transformative years in history. As we reach its centennial, this guide highlights some of that years' most significant events.
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Young J. Edgar by Kenneth D. AckermanIn 1919, when J. Edgar Hoover was 24 years old, a New York City postal clerk discovered sixteen bombs wrapped in individual packages - America's first instance of homegrown terrorism. Then-Attorney General Palmer vowed a crackdown and enlisted Hoover as his deputy. Amid the hysteria, details of abuses emerged, Palmer fell, and the rise of J. Edgar Hoover began. Hoover's drive to gain immense power, as well as his coolness and calculation, is explored in Young J. Edgar. With the Palmerraid a as a lens through which to view the terror-hysteria of post-9/11 America, Young J. Edgar reaches the heart of our modern debate over personal freedom in a time of war and fear.
J. Edgar Hoover Goes to the Movies by John SbardellatiBetween 1942 and 1958, J. Edgar Hoover's Federal Bureau of Investigation conducted a sweeping and sustained investigation of the motion picture industry to expose Hollywood's alleged subversion of "the American Way" through its depiction of social problems, class differences, and alternative political ideologies. FBI informants (their names still redacted today) reported to Hoover's G-men on screenplays and screenings of such films as Frank Capra's It's a Wonderful Life (1946), noting that "this picture deliberately maligned the upper class attempting to show that people who had money were mean and despicable characters." The FBI's anxiety over this film was not unique; it extended to a wide range of popular and critical successes, including The Grapes of Wrath (1940), The Best Years of Our Lives (1946), Crossfire (1947) and On the Waterfront (1954). In J. Edgar Hoover Goes to the Movies, John Sbardellati provides a new consideration of Hollywood's history and the post-World War II Red Scare. In addition to governmental intrusion into the creative process, he details the efforts of left-wing filmmakers to use the medium to bring social problems to light and the campaigns of their colleagues on the political right, through such organizations as the Motion Picture Alliance for the Preservation of American Ideals, to prevent dissemination of "un-American" ideas and beliefs. Sbardellati argues that the attack on Hollywood drew its motivation from a sincerely held fear that film content endangered national security by fostering a culture that would be at best apathetic to the Cold War struggle, or, at its worst, conducive to communism at home. Those who took part in Hollywood's Cold War struggle, whether on the left or right, shared one common trait: a belief that the movies could serve as engines for social change. This strongly held assumption explains why the stakes were so high and, ultimately, why Hollywood became one of the most important ideological battlegrounds of the Cold War.
The Bureau by Ronald KesslerA former Washington Post and Wall Street Journal investigative reporter, and the New York Times bestselling author of Inside the White House, Ronald Kessler presents the definitive history of the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Based on exclusive interviews, including the first with Robert Mueller since his nomination as director, The Bureau reveals startling new information about the bureau-from J. Edgar Hoover's blackmailing of Congress to the investigation of the September 11 attacks. With the FBI at the epicenter of the war on terrorism, no institution is as critically important to America's security. No American institution is as controversial. And, after the White House, Congress, and the Supreme Court, no institution is as powerful. Yet until now, no book has presented the full story of the FBI from its beginnings in 1908 to the present. Kessler focuses on the agents who have made its cases and the directors who have run the bureau, from Hoover through Louis Freeh and Robert Mueller. In doing so, he probes the relationship between the FBI and American presidents, and the tension that exists between a free society and what amounts to a national police force. Based on exclusive interviews-including the first interview with Mueller since his nomination The Bureau reveals for the first time the dramatic inside story of the FBI's response to the attacks of September 11, including its investigation of the anthrax mailings. The book answers questions about the bureau's role and performance: Why did the FBI know nothing useful about al-Qaeda before the attacks? What is really behind the FBI's more aggressive investigative approaches that have raised civil liberties concerns? What does the FBI think of improvements in airline security? How safe does the FBI think America really is? Only Ronald Kessler could have obtained the access necessary to answer these questions. An award-winning investigative reporter, Kessler is the author of The FBI: Inside the World's Most Powerful Law Enforcement Agency, which led to the dismissal of William S. Sessions as director. 132From DNA analysis to criminal profiling, from confirmation of Supreme Court justices to investigations of plane crashes and spies, the FBI is involved in almost every aspect of American life. Painted against the canvas of America's development in the past hundred years, The Bureau tells the richly detailed story of a uniquely powerful institution, its profound impact on American society, and how it has changed since September 11.
The Vendetta by Alston PurvisIn The Vendetta, author Alston Purvis recounts the story of his father, Melvin Purvis, the iconic G-man and public hero made famous by his remarkable sweep of the great Public Enemies of the American Depression--John Dillinger; Pretty Boy Floyd, and Baby Face Nelson. Purvis's successes led FBI boss J. Edgar Hoover to grow increasingly jealous, to the point where he vowed to bring down Purvis. Hoover smeared Purvis's reputation, and tried to erase his name from all records of the FBI's greatest triumphs. This book sets the record straight, and provides a grippingly authentic new telling of the gangster era, seen from the perspective of the pursuers.
The Kidnapping and Murder of Little Skeegie Cash by Robert Alvin Waters; Zack C. WatersInformed by thousands of pages of newly released FBI files, The Kidnapping and Murder of Little Skeegie Cash tells the gripping story of the only crime investigated by J. Edgar Hoover himself, the sensational 1938 murder of a five-year-old boy from the Florida Everglades. In his long and storied career, J. Edgar Hoover investigated only one case personally, the 1938 kidnapping and murder of five-year-old Floridian James "Skeegie" Cash. What prompted the director himself to fly from Washington, DC, to a rain-drenched hamlet on the edge of the Everglades? Congress had slashed FBI funding, forcing Hoover to lay off half his agents. The combative Hoover believed if he could bring Skeegie's killer to justice, the halo of positive publicity would revive the fortunes of the embattled FBI. In The Kidnapping and Murder of Little Skeegie Cash, Robert A. Waters and Zack C. Waters bring to life the drama of the abduction, the payment of a $10,000 ransom, the heartbreaking manhunt for Skeegie and his kidnapper, the arrest and confession of Franklin Pierce McCall, and the killer's trial and execution. Hordes of reporters swarmed into the little village south of Miami, and for thirteen days until McCall confessed, the case dominated national headlines. The authors capture the drama and the detail as well as the desperate and sometimes extralegal lengths to which Hoover went to crack the case. Using the Freedom of Information Act, the authors obtained more than four thousand pages of FBI files and court documents to reconstruct this important but forgotten case. The tragedy that played out in the swamps of Dade County constituted the backdrop for a political struggle that would involve J. Edgar Hoover, the United States Congress, and even president Franklin Delano Roosevelt. Hoover and the president prevailed, and within two years the FBI grew from 680 employees to more than 14,000. No books and few articles have been published about this historic case.
O'Neal, M. J. (2017). J. Edgar Hoover: ORIGINAL ANALYSIS 1885-1972. In Grey House Publishing (Ed.), Milestone documents of American leaders: exploring the primary sources of notable American leaders (2nd ed.). Salem Press.
New York Times
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