The Emperor's Old Files

J. EDGAR HOOVER: THE MAN AND THE SECRETS

by Curt Gentry; Norton; 846 pages; $29.95

For nearly five decades, he artfully promoted himself as America's chief guardian of law and order, ever on the alert to foil public enemies and Soviet spies alike. In fact, J. (for John, which he dropped in the '20s to avoid confusion with a small-time crook of the same name) Edgar Hoover, the longtime director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, was normally more engaged in battling his real enemies: anyone in Congress, the White House, the Justice Department or other intelligence agencies like the CIA...

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