From the Secret Files of J. Edgar Hoover

Athan Theoharis

Hoover had a file on anyone who was anyone. Hoover loved files. Hoover loved dirt… just like the vaccum cleaner which bears his name. After reading Secret Files you will readily see that the most startling secret kept from the public was Hoover’s own obsessions with sex, filth, race and orthodoxy:
“Informal Memo: In April, 1952, the New York Office received confidential information from a detective of the New York District Attorney’s Office to the effect that Adlai Stevenson and David B. Owen, President, Bradley University, Peoria, Illinois, were two officials in Illinois who caused a great deal of trouble to law-enforcement officers. The detective had gone to Peoria to bring back basketball players who had been indicted in New York. The basketball players told the detective that the two best-known homosexuals in Illinois were Owen and Stevenson. According to the report, Stevenson was ‘Adeline.’” JB

Publisher: Dee
Paperback: 377 pages

J. Edgar Hoover, Sex, and Crime

Athan Theoharis

History professor Theoharis does his best to “un-out” the infamous FBI director and debunk the popular culture image of him as a crossdressing nelly. The book’s approach is that Hoover was appointed during the ‘20s Harding administration with strict orders of NO DOMESTIC SPYING (after the public and Congress grew weary of this, unchecked and rampant, in his predecessor), yet collecting info for use against others was Hoover’s obsession and main talent, what made him tick. The author asserts that Hoover was not inept at prosecuting the Mafia because (as legend states) of their cache of potentially ruinous, blackmail-ready photos, but because his spying methods would have been revealed if he had. In other words, Hoover enjoyed it if you were a deviant—and had endless files collected on every possible citizen, famous or otherwise—but wasn’t one himself. (And ironically, the author points out that any kind of serious attempts at Mafia prosecution didn’t happen until after Hoover’s death.) We sense a conservative agenda at work here to specifically discredit the biography from which the popular sexy image of Hoover sprang, but there are enough well-researched examples of bureaucratic ineptitude and cloak-and-dagger government screw-ups to make this a solid, recommended read. MS

Publisher: Dee
Hardback: 176 pages

The Ku Klux Klan in the City, 1915-1930

Kenneth T. Jackson

Most people see the Klan as a rural and southern phenomenon, but in the 1920s, with the Klan at its height of power, they flourished in the cities, often in the North. The people who joined the Klan were dislocated, frightened and uprooted by the rapid changes in urban life. Many of these people joined the Klan for patriotic reasons unaware of their bigotry. In many places from Dallas to Atlanta, and Buffalo, to Portland, Oregon the Klan won elective office. SC

Publisher: Dee
Paperback: 326 pages

Molotov Remembers: Inside Kremlin Politics —Conversations with Felix Chuev

V.M. Molotov

Best known in the West as Soviet foreign minister during World War II and the Cold War, V.M. Molotov spent 70 years at the top of the Soviet heap. Right-hand man under Lenin and then Stalin, diplomat to Hitler, insider to the rise and fall of Khrushchev, Molotov was a rubber-stamping yesman who turned out to be a valuable historical source on “the politics and psychology of the most influential movement of the 20th century,” since neither Stalin nor Lenin left any biographical musings. “Eerily fascinating,“ says Woodford McClellan, professor of Russian history. “One does not so much read this book as engage in a one-on-one conversation with a major figure in a gigantic criminal organization. The answers come readily, couched not in anything resembling normal human emotions but rather in the stupefyingly cynical amorality that characterized the Communist Party of the Soviet Union.” GR

Publisher: Dee
Hardback: 439 pages