The Secrets of J. Edgar Hoover

As Director of the FBI, J. Edgar Hoover exercised a dictatorial influence over the department – and, it seems, everyone else. Meticulous and vindictive, he frequently weaponised secrets while carefully guarding his own. Deborah Friedell grapples with his overwhelming and disturbing legacy in her sweeping review of G-Man, the first Hoover biography in thirty years. She joins Tom to discuss some of the most puzzling features of Hoover’s personality and approach to policing. Should he have known about Pearl Harbor? Was he in cahoots with the Mafia? And what was his problem with bald men?

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