Cover image for The FBI : a comprehensive reference guide
The FBI : a comprehensive reference guide
Theoharis, Athan G.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
New York : Checkmark Books, [2000]

Physical Description:
xi, 409 pages : illustrations, portraits ; 28 cm
General Note:
Originally published: Phoenix, Ariz. : Oryx Press, 1999.
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
HV8144.F43 T48 2000 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area-Oversize

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This work offers a one-volume reference to one of the world's most powerful law enforcement agencies. Topics include a brief history of the FBI's role and powers; notable cases; FBI oversights and liaison relationships; the FBI in American popular culture; and a chronology of key facts.

Author Notes

Athan G. Theoharis is nationally recognized as the leading authority on the FBI. He has served as a consultant to the National Archives Task Force on FBI records and the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence Activities and has testified before Congress on electronic surveillance policy, federal records policy and the Freedom of Information Act. He has written numerous books about the FBI and is a professor of history at Marquette University
Tony G. Poveda is a professor of sociology at the State University of New York, Plattsburg, where he has served as chair of the sociology department and coordinator of the criminal justice program. He has written numerous scholarly articles and conducted extensive research into the crimes of large organizations, including corporations and government agencies
Susan Rosenfeld was appointed the FBI's first official historian in 1984 and held this position for nine years. Previously she taught at Cornell, Georgetown, American, Howard and Virginia Commonwealth Universities. She has also worked for the National Archives, analyzing the FBI, Watergate and other government investigatory records. She has written extensively about J. Edgar Hoover and the FBI
Richard Gid Powers is a professor of history at the College of Staten Island and the Graduate School at the City University of New York, where he also directs the American studies program. He has written extensively about the FBI

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

Here is an in-depth look at the history, people, controversies, and cases of the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Editor Theoharis and several contributors provide a balanced look at this sometimes secretive agency. The work is divided into 10 chapters, each covering one broad topic, beginning with "A Brief History of the FBI's Role and Powers"and ending with "Chronology of Key Events." In between are chapters detailing famous cases, traditions, and culture of the FBI; the organizational structure and day-to-day operations; the facilities; the impact of the Bureau on American popular culture; and biographies of key agents and figures in the FBI's history. Illustrations, photographs, tables, and graphs support the text. Each chapter is signed by the contributing editor and opens with an outline of the material to be presented. Headings guide the user to the correct section of the chapter. As an example, Chapter 2, "Notable Cases," is divided into five subsections: "Introduction," "The Early Years (1908^-24)," "The Hoover Years (1924^-72)," "The Modern Era (1972 to the Present)," and "Summary." "The Hoover Years" includes subsections on "Gangster Cases of the 1930s," "Organized Crime," and "Civil Rights Cases of the 1960s," among others; with discussion of particular cases (Bonnie and Clyde, La Cosa Nostra, the Medgar Evers murder) within each of these categories. Chapter 8, "The FBI in Popular American Culture," includes a filmography of movies and television shows which deal exclusively or peripherally with the agency, listing for each the director, cast, and a brief synopsis of the plot. More than 100 FBI personnel, including top level executives, employees associated with FBI firsts (a table of firsts is provided), and other notables, are profiled in Chapter 9. See references throughout the work guide the reader to the correct entries. An annotated bibliography and index complete the volume. Given the book's arrangement, the index is essential. There is no other reference book that covers the FBI in such detail. This would be an extremely useful volume for high-school, public, and academic libraries.

Library Journal Review

This readable reference guide to the Federal Bureau of Investigation does not disappoint. The first three chapters explore the history of the bureau, with separate essays addressing its role and powers, notable cases, and controversies. Chapter 8, "The FBI in American Popular Culture," is nearly a book in itself, with its thorough examination of the bureau's image in books, magazines, radio, television, and the movies. On the more practical side, there are chapters on the agency's traditions, organization, relationship to other governmental agencies, and physical facilities. Also included are thumbnail biographies of FBI luminaries, a time line of crucial events in its history, and a substantial annotated bibliography of books and articles. The book is peppered with photographs and factual tables. While not inexpensive, it is visually appealing and packed with information. Highly recommended for all reference collections. [Editor Theoharis is a leading scholar on the FBI and author of a noted J. Edgar Hoover biography, The Boss, LJ 6/1/88.‘Ed.]‘Patrick Petit, Catholic Univ. Law Lib., Beltsville, MD (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Choice Review

As its title claims, this work is comprehensive, with ten chapters by four scholars who have all contributed significantly to previous works about this fascinating agency. The chapters cover the entire range of subject matter, from the history of the Bureau to its physical facilities, and from famous events and cases in which the FBI has participated to the representation of the organization in popular culture. The book also contains an annotated bibliography and a fairly comprehensive index, and is lavishly illustrated with almost 100 pictures, figures, and tables. Readers might expect an encyclopedic format, but the introduction explains that discrete entries do not lend themselves to a comprehensive understanding of the entanglement of the people, places, and events described. Instead, an alphabetical listing of biographies and a chronology help delineate individuals and important dates. This work could be improved if page references led directly from the biographies and chronology to the text, but the index suffices. Highly recommended for all libraries. M. A. Allan; New Mexico State University



From its inception and role in society to its notable cases and depiction in popular culture, every aspect of the Federal Bureau of Investigation is covered in this book. An invaluable resource, The FBI includes never-before-published information on the agency's facilities and organizational structure as well as biographies of key figures. Organized into 10 subject-defined chapters, each written by an expert in the field, this book is a fascinating cover-to-cover read as well as a superb one-volume reference to one of the world's most powerful law enforcement agencies. Coverage includes: A brief history of the FBI's role and powers Notable cases Controversies and issues FBI oversight and liaison relationships The traditions and culture of the FBI Organization and day-to-day activities Buildings and physical plant The FBI in American popular culture Biographies A chronology of key events. Excerpted from The FBI: A Comprehensive Reference Guide All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.

Table of Contents

Athan G. TheoharisTony G. PovedaTony G. PovedaAthan G. TheoharisTony G. PovedaSusan RosenfeldSusan RosenfeldRichard Gid PowersSusan RosenfeldAthan G. Theoharis
Illustrationsp. iv
Contributorsp. vii
Introductionp. ix
Chapter 1 A Brief History of the FBI's Role and Powersp. 1
Chapter 2 Notable Casesp. 45
Chapter 3 Controversies and Issuesp. 101
Chapter 4 FBI Oversight and Liaison Relationshipsp. 143
Chapter 5 The Traditions and Culture of the FBIp. 167
Chapter 6 Organization and Day-to-Day Activitiesp. 205
Chapter 7 Buildings and Physical Plantp. 249
Chapter 8 The FBI in American Popular Culturep. 261
Chapter 9 Biographiesp. 309
Chapter 10 Chronology of Key Eventsp. 361
Annotated Bibliographyp. 385
Indexp. 397