Cover image for Puppetmaster : [the secret life of J. Edgar Hoover]
Puppetmaster : [the secret life of J. Edgar Hoover]
Hack, Richard.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
Prince Frederick, MD : Recorded Books, [2004]

Physical Description:
11 audio discs (approximately 13 hrs.) : digital ; 4 3/4 in.
General Note:

Subtitle from container.
Added Author:
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Format :
Audiobook on CD


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
HV7911.H6 H33 2004D Adult Audiobook on CD Audiobooks
HV7911.H6 H33 2004D Adult Audiobook on CD Audiobooks

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Reviews 2

Publisher's Weekly Review

As in his smart biographies of Howard Hughes (Hughes) and Ted Turner/Rupert Murdoch (Clash of the Titans), Hack brings a novelist's flair for drama and a journalist's nose for truth to the life of another controversial figure. With unsourced renditions of Hoover's and others' internal monologues, Hack creates some transparency for the legendary FBI chief's tantalizingly opaque psyche. His most controversial conclusion about Hoover's private life is that, despite his weird intimacy with sidekick Clyde Tolson and his household collections of male nudes and Chinese ceramics, Hoover was not gay. Rather, he was dependent for sexual excitement on furtive perusal of smut from the FBI's Obscene Files and was enamored of certain Hollywood stars, named here. Hack's account of Hoover's public life, meanwhile, zings. He covers Hoover's career from his initial exploits tracking down dissidents through his headline-grabbing pursuit of Depression-era outlaws to his postwar crusade against left-wing subversion, one increasingly out of step with the country during his Vietnam-era decline. Hack's balanced but quite critical treatment details the brilliant self-promotion, which made Hoover a national hero, as well as the paranoid anticommunism, the secret files on presidents and pinkos alike, the illegal surveillance and wiretaps and the racist antagonism to the Civil Rights movement that later made him a villain in many eyes. Hack says too little about the FBI as an institution or its crime-fighting methods, treating it mainly as an extension of Hoover's personal and political agenda. But he does offer a live-wire biography of a determined, energetic, lonely and insecure man who comes off here as much a puppet as master, a consummate bureaucratic infighter all too pathetically aware of his vulnerability to shifts in political power. 6 pages of b&w photos. (Apr.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Library Journal Review

Legendary FBI director Hoover was a lifelong resident of Washington, DC, and had an extremely close attachment to his mother, living with her in the family home until he was in his forties. He was named director in 1924 at age 29 and held the post until his death in 1972. Hack emphasizes that Hoover wanted control over individuals (wiretapping), everyday operations of the bureau (dictating how field offices should be set up), public relations, and his personal life (always taking "working vacations" with trips to Florida or California at the same time each year). The author maintains that Hoover's long-term friendship with Assistant Director Clyde Tolson was not homosexual; rather, he had near-romantic social relationships with several Hollywood stars, and he amassed a huge collection of pornography (confiscated by his agents). Narrator Dan Cashman helps differentiate the famous (FDR, JFK, Nixon, and Hoover himself) by reading their words with plausible accents. A good addition to popular collections.-Nann Blaine Hilyard, Zion-Benton P.L., IL (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.