Puppetmaster: The Secret Life of J. Edgar Hoover

Puppetmaster: The Secret Life of J. Edgar Hoover

Richard Hack / Mar 31, 2020

Puppetmaster The Secret Life of J Edgar Hoover J Edgar Hoover the most powerful lawman in America for over fifty years was also the country s most controversial and feared public servant His career as director of the Federal Bureau of Investigat

  • Title: Puppetmaster: The Secret Life of J. Edgar Hoover
  • Author: Richard Hack
  • ISBN: 9781893224872
  • Page: 309
  • Format: Hardcover
  • J Edgar Hoover, the most powerful lawman in America for over fifty years, was also the country s most controversial and feared public servant His career as director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation spanned nine different presidential administrations and survived a dozen attempts to sweep him from office During that time, Hoover completely reshaped domestic law enfJ Edgar Hoover, the most powerful lawman in America for over fifty years, was also the country s most controversial and feared public servant His career as director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation spanned nine different presidential administrations and survived a dozen attempts to sweep him from office During that time, Hoover completely reshaped domestic law enforcement as he expanded the reach of the FBI and transformed his G men into an elite national crime fighting division Despite his contributions to the criminal justice system, Hoover fell from favor soon after his death, the victim of rampant rumors and innuendo In

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      Published :2019-01-27T13:21:22+00:00

    About "Richard Hack"

      • Richard Hack

        Born in Drexel Hill, Pennsylvania, Hack attended the Lynnewood School, and Haverford High School, on the Main Line in suburban Philadelphia He later attended Pennsylvania State University and holds a Master s Degree in Environmental Design.Hack moved to Los Angeles where he was hired by TV Guide magazine as its West Coast national programming editor By the early 80s, Hack began writing the TeleVisions column for the daily entertainment trade paper, The Hollywood Reporter During the next decade, Hack was instrumental in propelling the paper into a dominant position over rival Variety, and often appeared on The Tonight Show and Today reporting on Hollywood.During the same period, he was a frequent guest on Oprah Winfrey, Good Morning America, Larry King Live, Charlie Rose, Tomorrow, Entertainment Tonight, and Access Hollywood.In 1990, Hack left The Hollywood Reporter to become Vice President of Creative Affairs at Dove Audio and Entertainment, a production company that specialized in miniseries and books on tape While at Dove, Hack adapted Sidney Sheldon s The Sands of Time, Memories of Midnight, and The Stars Shine Down as mini series, which he also produced, and wrote his first book, Next to Hughes with Robert Maheu 2 Since leaving Dove, Hack moved to a horse ranch in Maui, where he stabled polo ponies, and established a home on the Intracoastal in Florida.His bestseller Hughes The Private Diaries, Memos and Letters was released on September 11, 2001 Hack was being interviewed live on the Today show by Matt Lauer when the first plane crashed into the World Trade Center.His subsequent book, PuppetMaster The Secret Life of J Edgar Hoover was the basis of the 2011 film J Edgar, directed by Clint Eastwood.


    1. Lana: OK fine, I can’t prove anything right now.Malory: The didn’t stop J. Edna Hoover from persecuting Martin Luther King, now did it?Lana: Wait, what does that have to do Wait J. Edna?Malory: You never heard that? How Hoover was a huge cross-dressing chicken hawk?Lana: I had not.Well, Wild Bill Donovan sure knew how to pick 'em because Malory Archer was pretty dead on when it came to J. Edgar Hoover. Ok, so maybe he wasn't a cross-dressing chicken hawk, but he was a grade-A jerk obsessed w [...]

    2. I would love to have rated this book higher, since J Edgar Hoover, past director of the FBI, is one of my favorite all time bad guys to read about. However, the author's writing reminded me of a graduate student putting together a thesis or paper -- either way too much detail about meaningless stuff (like the contents of various meals, including his last, or what he wore, or description of the day -- e.g. "the snow was coming down in flakes as big as blueberries" etc etc etc) and not enough dept [...]

    3. This book was recommended to me by my son and he assured me that it did not read like a tabloid story. I can't say that I learned a whole lot that I hadn't already known from other sources over the years . This book portrays J. Edgar Hoover as a power hungry, corrupt, manipulative man whose views were very rigid most likely too rigid for changing times. His tenure as FBI director endured for the terms of 9 presidents and perhaps therein lies the problem. Hack (the author) did try to balance the [...]

    4. The creation of the FBI and the development of federal law enforcement is an interesting story. Laws weren't structured well to handle criminals with a new ability to use automobiles to rapidly cross jurisdictional lines, they had to be created from scratch. Some parts of the book deal with gossip and rumor without clearly stating with what the gossip was, assuming the reader is familiar for example with Washington politics in the 1930s. Later in the book the author does a better job of explaini [...]

    5. I went in not really knowing that much about J. Edgar Hoover, so I thought this book presented his life very well. I read it in three days- which was quick as I tend to take longer to read biographies. There were a few facts that I didn't know if they were inaccurate or not, like the account of the 14 year old boy that was killed in 1955. I read in another book that he was killed for whistling at a white woman and not talking to her.I guess my opinion of Hoover is that he meant well in his origi [...]

    6. A complex story of an era gone by I find it hard to judge J. Edgar Hoover too harshly because he was a man of his times and sometimes felt the ends justified the means. In the end he was infallible and human but I feel we cannot discount the impact he had in shaping the country good or bad. It's undeniable he was an ingrained part of our American Culture. I was happy that this book seemed to dispel all the nasty rumors of his personal life It goes to show you can't go by stand up comedian's vers [...]

    7. This book is the first audiobook I have listened to. I listened to it on a 12 hour drive from SW Indiana to Tampa, Florida. The only reason I give it 3 stars is because the narrator of the audiobook version was phenomenal. This book is really for someone who has never read about J. Edgar Hoover. I found nothing new in this book that I did not already know. I personally had a great deal of trouble with how the author dealt with Hoover's alleged homosexuality.

    8. pretty incredible that a man could have this much power and influence in our country. I found it an incredible and interesting read.

    9. Interesting read, but a little heavy on investigating Hoover's sexuality and, like all other sources, there is no answer. Time could been better spent on more interesting areas of Hoover's life.

    10. Interesting. I had to keep reminding myself it was the "secret" life because I wanted a little of what wasn't secret. Basically it covered events I'd heard of but in a very straight forward way.

    11. For some reason I have never been interested in J Edgar Hoover despite years of sometimes shocking, sometimes hilarious would-be exposes of the man and the organization he created, the FBI. Recently, reading a book about the Kennedy administration and the feud between Bobby Kennedy and Hoover, I realized it was time to find out more about America's No 1 G-Man.The best known book about Hoover seems to be Official and Confidential by Anthony Summers, which seems to be a bit sensationalized. So I c [...]

    12. As with his biographies of Howard Hughes (Hughes) and Ted Turner/Rupert Murdock (Clash of the Titans), Richard Hack brings a novelist’s flair for drama and a journalist’s nose for truth to the life of J. Edgar Hoover. Hoover was the Director of the FBI for more than fifty years; he served nine different Presidents and sixteen Attorney Generals. The book is well-written and meticulously researched even thorough it does not reveal any new findings. The author attempts to keep this a balanced a [...]

    13. J. Edgar Hoover literally invented the F.B.I and his name has become synonymous with law enforcement, if not also cross-dressing. Richard Hack has an unfortunate last name, all things considered, and the two books of his that I have read do have an air of tabloidism about them. The truth is, though, Puppetmaster, like Hack's Hughes, is almost entirely based on letters, memos and personal items left behind by the respective topics, and Hack and Hoover go together. The element of tabloidism is alm [...]

    14. A very entertaining read, and one that convincingly puts a lot of rumors regarding Hoover's personal life to rest. One thing he doesn't do is bring Clyde Tolson or Helen Gandy to life or why they became his loyal partners in crime for decades. Hoover's brief nemesis Harry Truman is more of a clear character than they are. The later dealings with organized crime is also flat, with tons of Italian names with colorful aliases thrown at you without any real insight as what was going on. I'm guessing [...]

    15. How on earth do people like this end up with so much power? Interesting and depressing at the same time, this bio of J. Edgar Hoover paints a picture of a paranoid little toad who rose to power partly because he was ruthless, and partly because he had no friends to drag him out of the office.A lot of this rehashes anecdotes we've all heard over the years, but there are also some stories I've never heard before that are really, really sad, like the way he would zero in on someone he suspected of [...]

    16. It is unbelievable how much this man broke the law as the main lawman in America. He served under 8 President's and they knew of his behavior and allowed it. He had files on almost anyone of power, wealth and fame. He wiretapped the phones of Congress, Martin Luther King, movie stars and his friends. He accepted gifts for airplane rides, resorts, free vacations, free toys, etc. The FBI under Hoover was as close to The Gestapo as it could be and America loved him at the time. He trampled the righ [...]

    17. Hack gives us a portrait of a poor pathetic little man, so afraid of his own sexuality that he could never act on it. Instead, Hoover obsessively kept files on everyone who had a life (creating evidence on occasion), wasting enormous resources tracking down and intimidating anyone who dared criticize his lovely little FBI. Hack tries to convey some of the positive achievements of the man, but really, his level of hypocrisy is so astounding, that no mitigating factors could salvage his reputation [...]

    18. This is a very interesting biography of one of the most powerful, egotistic, vengeful and, yet, likely honest man of the 20th Century in America. Hoover made the FBI what it was and is today the premier law enforcement organization in the world. He personally introduced many novel but now standard law enforcement tools and standards. But he also created many important enemies and destroyed the lives of many people. I knew little about Hoover when I picked up the audiobook. But I am glad the I d [...]

    19. The response from a friend who learned I was listening to this: 'I can't believe YOU are reading this!" Yeah, go figure! There is some fascinating info in this - which, of course, became more common knowledge after the FBI Director died. He was all about knowing more about others than they did of him. his secret files and investigations did not exempt ANYONE - friends, politicians, heads in government, gangsters, etc. He had a salacious desire to know the intimate details of the lives of others [...]

    20. The Prologue and the Epilogue provide a good summary of the book. Between these bookends, should you desire more, each chapter layers detail after referenced and fabricated detail of this odious, paranoid little man. How this watch dog of American democracy and security gained favor and controlled Washington politicans for nearly sixty years is hard to comprehend, especially after reading of his heinous acts. The positive, unprecedented criminal investigative and laboratory proceedures Hoover co [...]

    21. This book is basically a long story about a guy who is a jerk, but not in the way you thought. It was 60% interesting, and 40% pretty boring, although it's hard to tell if that was because of the writing or because the themes of Hoover's life were ultimately just sad and boring. Probably a bit of both. The most interesting parts were about other people, like Martin Luther King, or John Kennedy. Maybe a book about all the dirt Hoover collected on everyone would be better! All in all, I wouldn't r [...]

    22. I hoped that the constant references to public suspicions of J Edgar's private life throughout the book were teasers to what would be eventually revealed. Sadly, I felt letdown in that regard, but overall I was impressed with book and appreciated a new perspective on the "Puppetmaster's" 36-year reign as the Director of the FBI.

    23. I liked the book. It was easy to read without a lot of boring detail.Hoover was a man to be feared and seemed to ruled by his own personal fears and idiosyncrasies. America changed rapidly during Hoover's life and he dealt with it in his own way. He seemed like a dangerous man to me but he had a talent for organization and leadership. It's amazing how much influence he had in so many lives.

    24. Richard Hack did a great job providing a glimpse into the life of J. Edgar Hoover. Well balanced in his approach, he left us to make up our own minds as to the true nature of Hoover. Highly recommend reading this book. You will certainly get a better picture to a very powerful man and the history he made: good, bad or indifferent.

    25. More flotsam than jetsam, this is a story that -had it been properly handled- could have risen to the level of dull snark. However, Hack has somehow managed to make J.E. Hoover more tedious than tawdry.

    26. This book was horrible! Full of imagined dialog between Hoover and his Mom. Also, it was incredibly boring, when it didn't need to be. Yeah, Hoover was a friendless bastard with no social life, but he was in charge of the FBI for like 100 years! Geez.

    27. A disturbing look at a man who held so much influence in American life. Understanding the life and times of J. Edgar Hoover should inspire people to continue to keep close watch on our government. This is a must read but be ready to be upset by the actions of this strange but powerful man.

    28. Of course we have heard the rumors of J. Edgar Hoover, but this book addresses many of those rumors with historical reference. It is amazing the actions of a man when he is given so much power. We see the rise and fall of JEH. Can't dispute history.

    29. Very interesting book. I listened to the audio book version and the narrator used a voice for Hoover that reminded me of a stereotypical 1930s gangster or Agent Maxwell Smart of TV's Get Smart. Kind of funny!

    30. Although the biographer shows an admirable objectivity, the book seems too brief for the subject. Some of the pages are wasted by giving too much background information for the period, and most of this is already familiar to the general reader.

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