J. Edgar Hoover, Sex, and Crime: An Historical Antidote

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Ivan R. Dee, Jan 1, 1995 - Biography & Autobiography - 175 pages
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Was J. Edgar Hoover a homosexual? And did organized-crime leaders, knowing this, blackmail the FBI director into leaving them alone? These charges won almost instant popular acceptance when they were aired not long ago in a sensational biography of Hoover. But Athan Theoharis, our foremost authority on Hoover and the FBI, here shows that the accusations are spurious, and that the story of Hoover's real approach to sex and organized crime is far more intriguing.
The chilling portrait that takes shape in these pages is that of a moralistic bureaucrat who would not hesitate to use sex-related information against his political enemies - but only when it could not be traced to FBI investigations. And the FBI's ineffectiveness in pursuing organized-crime leaders had nothing to do with Hoover's vulnerability; it resulted from the director's lack of accountability, his use of illegal investigative techniques, and his focus on political activities.
Punctuating his narrative with case materials drawn from Hoover's secret files - on presidential candidates, senators, congressmen, artists and writers, college presidents, and others - Theoharis unravels the brilliantly devious means that Hoover used to accomplish his political ends. And he shows how they contributed to a culture of lawlessness within the FBI itself. J. Edgar Hoover, Sex, and Crime is a useful corrective to our history as well as a fascinating exploration of one of the twentieth century's most sinister minds.

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Theoharis, a leading authority on Hoover and the FBI, refutes charges in Anthony Summers's Official and Confidential: The Secret Life of J. Edgar Hoover (Putnam, 1993) that Hoover was homosexual. The ... Read full review

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About the author (1995)

Athan Theoharis is professor of history at Marquette University. His many books include The Boss, From the Secret Files of J. Edgar Hoover, Spying on Americans, Beyond the Hiss Case, Seeds of Repression, and The Yalta Myths. He lives in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

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