Tuesday, February 28, 2012

A Law Unto Itself

Tim Wiener's new book, Enemies: A History of the FBI sounds very promising, as he seeks to lay the federal bureau of investigation bare,

Under J Edgar Hoover’s 48-year reign, the FBI was a law unto itself, and more than one president compared it to the Gestapo. “No holds were barred,” admitted Bill Sullivan, the bureau’s head of counterintelligence during the late Fifties. “Never once did I hear anybody, including myself, raise the question: ‘Is this course of action which we have agreed upon lawful? Is it legal? Is it ethical or moral?’ ” Another agent put it more succinctly: “Nobody knew what was right or wrong.” The FBI was the closest thing that America had to an Eastern European-style secret police. 

This book follows up on his award-winning book, Legacy of Ashes: The History of the CIA.


  1. I could go with this one, too.

    I'm about to leave for a few days and am taking the Devil in the White City, which comes highly recommended by my original history mentor. Hopefully will have it read by early next week if anyone wants to discuss that one. Otherwise, have to stick to 2012 options.

    Escape Artists might be an interesting one to discuss.

  2. If Di Caprio can play Hoover, I don't see why Pitt can't play Gingrich in a movie.

  3. That said, this book does appeal to me more.

  4. This reminds me of a book I read when I was ten or eleven years old, Don Whitehead's "The FBI Story: A Report to the People." I remember checking it out from the local library and reading it with fascination. Did I ever want to become an FBI agent.

  5. The power of a book to (almost) change lives.