Aldrich, Gary. Unlimited Access: An FBI Agent Inside the Clinton White House. Washington, DC: Regnery, 1998.
Barron, John. Operation SOLO: The FBI's Man in the Kremlin. Washington, DC: Regnery, 1996.
Surveillant 4.3 notes that this is the story of "Morris Childs, who, along with his wife Eva, and his brother, Jack, provided the U.S. with secrets for 27 years" from his position as editor of the Daily Worker. Childs traveled to Russia, China, Eastern Europe, and Cuba and met many of the communist leaders of his day. Although intelligence scholars will question the operation's level of importance, Barron's book, reviews of the book, and future accounts will "help clarify" SOLO's "role in U.S. foreign policy during the Cold War years." For Fontaine, WIR 15.3, Operation SOLO is "a must-read for anyone even remotely interested in intelligence."
On the other side of the evaluation scale, Fischer, IJI&C 10.4, raises the question, "How much should be believed of this carelessly written, factually incorrect, and undocumented book?... The problem with Barron's account is that much of it is 'inherently implausible' (Theodore Draper), some absolutely impossible, and none of it totally confirmable.... Operation SOLO is replete with non sequiturs and many major and minor errors that damage its credibility."
Other reviewers offer a range of opinion on the book: See, for example, Arnold Beichman, "The Incredible Saga of Our Super Spy in Moscow," Washington Times, 9 Mar. 1996, C1; Theodore Draper, "Our Man in Moscow," New York Review of Books, 9 May 1996, 4; Harvey Klehr, "Comrade Heroes; Operation SOLO: The FBI's Man in the Kremlin," American Spectator, Mar. 1996, 70-72; Richard Gid Powers, "Double Agent," New York Times Book Review, 21 Apr. 1996, 20; and Jeff Stein, "Spy in the Ointment," Washington Post, 23 Apr. 1996, D2.
Bly, Herman O. Communism, the Cold War, and the FBI Connection: Time to Set the Record Straight. Lafayette, LA: Huntington House, 1998.
Breuer, William B. J. Edgar Hoover and His G-Men. Westport, CT: Greenwood, 1995.
Surveillant 4.3 says this book focuses "on the law enforcement side of the FBI.... This is a sweeping, laudatory tribute to Hoover and his many hand-picked agents." For Wannall, WIR 14.3, the author's theme of Hoover's revitalization of the FBI is very congenial. He believes that the "bureau, rejuvenated under Hoover's leadership and managerial ability,... achieved remarkable successes." Breuer has countered "the barrage of vilification that has been heaped" on Hoover "in an objective and factual manner."
DeLoach, Cartha D. ("Deke"). Hoover's FBI: The Inside Story by Hoover's Trusted Lieutenant. Washington, DC: Regnery, 1995. 1997. [pb]
Wannall, Periscope 21.2, says DeLoach makes "a powerful presentation of factual data and well-documented conclusions." The author presents "an unbiased portrait" of Hoover whose "faults are clearly defined.... On the other hand, DeLoach ... has forcefully presented facts which explain and vindicate Hoover's decisions and actions which have been interpreted by his detractors in ... derogatory and vilifying terms." In the process, the author "put[s] the lie to the ... smear allegations of homosexuality and cross-dressing" of Anthony Summers' Official and Confidential. This book "makes excellent reading and should dispel many of the wild rumors that thus far have denied Hoover his proper niche in American history."
For Surveillant 4.2, "this precise, highly readable narrative is the most authentic account in some time.... [I]t will disappoint [both] rabid FBI haters and uncritical Hoover worshippers.... Highly recommended."
Gentry, Curt. J. Edgar Hoover: The Man and the Secrets. New York: Norton, 1991. New York: Truman Talley/Plume, 1992. [pb] New York: Norton, 2001. [pb]
Clark comment: There is much here, perhaps too much. It is difficult at times to separate the sourced from the unsourced from the purely speculative. The following is one of many such examples -- this one occurring in the space of less than two pages: "What happened ... during the next few days can only be surmised.... would obviously ... Typically,... would have.... would surely be ... presumably saw ... Perhaps ... is the likely approach ... would have been ... may have ... must have ... would have been...." Parsing this huge (760 pages of text) and sprawling work for what is and is not on the mark might well require as much research as went into the book itself, although the retelling of earlier events (up to 1945) gives the impression of being sounder than some of what follows.
Surveillant 2.1 calls Gentry's work "[a]n impressive, comprehensive account -- hostile but fairer than expected." Nonetheless, the author "presents more of a caricature of Hoover than the man deserves." Similarly, Elson, Time, 14 Oct. 1991, notes that Gentry "generally is better at describing what the director did than at analyzing what made him tick."
For O'Reilly, Policy Studies Journal 21.3, Gentry's is "by far the best Hoover biography ... but we cannot learn much about the director and civil rights from a writer who has either never heard of Selma ... or simply cannot keep the movement's seminal events straight." Wannall, FILS 11.2, calls the book a "gathering of gossip and undocumented allegations." The "principal source ... was William C. Sullivan," who was a "biased, vengeful person." Yet Wannall, The Real J. Edgar Hoover (2000), p. 185, also refers to Gentry as "one of the less-biased chroniclers of Hoover's life and career."
Jeffreys, Diarmuid. The Bureau: Inside the Modern FBI. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1995. The Bureau: Inside Today's FBI. London: Macmillan, 1995.
Harter, Surveillant 4.2, notes that the focus of the book is criminal investigations. "Readers searching for ... views on the modern FBI's foreign counterintelligence program will be sorely disappointed." The single chapter on the subject "centers on the controversial CISPES and Iran-Contra investigations, not your typical counterintelligence cases." A second Surveillant 4.2 reviewer concludes that the book is "useful for browsing but hard to read all the way through. And in the end [the author] provides nothing new on the Bureau."
Kessler, Ronald. The FBI: Inside the World's Most Powerful Law Enforcement Agency. New York: Simon & Schuster, 1993. Expanded and updated. The FBI: Inside the World's Most Powerful Law Enforcement Agency - By the Award-Winning Journalist Whose Investigation Brought Down FBI Director William S. Sessions. New York: Pocket Books, 1994. [pb]
Surveillant 3.4/5 sees this as "magazine style material, topical and current." It is a "readable blend of dialog, fact, history, opinion, surprising revelation, gossip, and accounts of outright malfeasance and scandal.... While much of the book does not deal with the intelligence side of the Bureau, the ongoing and highly sensitive MEGAHUT operation is uncovered here." Surveillant 4.1 adds that new material is found in the Epilogue of the updated paperback. "Kessler surfaces ... the possible hiring, under pressure by [FBI director Louis] Freeh, of two ex-drug addict associates."
For NameBase "Kessler's unprecedented access ... has produced one of the few books to concentrate on the years since J. Edgar Hoover's death in 1972. Although there's a recruitment-poster quality in Kessler's description of hero agents, this book redeems itself by ... describing how things work at the FBI's various departments and major field offices. Whatever one thinks about Kessler's 'inside' books..., at least he's thorough."
North, Mark. Act of Treason: The Role of J. Edgar Hoover in the Assassination of President Kennedy. New York: Carroll & Graf, 1990.
Athan G. Theoharis is probably the most widely published, best known, and persistent critic of the FBI and Hoover. In his review of this book, Theoharis, WPNWE, 23-29 Dec. 1991, concludes: "Because of the author's research deficiencies, we are presented with a book based on tortuous reasoning and unsupported speculation. To offer this as evidence of Hoover's 'role' in the Kennedy assassination requires a leap of faith that only the most cynical will make."
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