Master of Deceit: J. Edgar Hoover and America in the Age of Lies

By: Marc Aronson

A lawless lawman, J. Edgar Hoover “showed us the price of feeling safe.” Head of the FBI for forty-eight years, he protected America using any means necessary. Author’s note on the research and writing of the book. Notes. Bibliography. Index. Reproductions of artwork, media promotions and articles, and historical documents. Black-and-white photographs.

ISBN: 9780763650254

JLG Release: Jun 2012


Sensitive Areas: Homophobic, anti-Semitic, and racist language, Suicide, Mention of rape
Topics: J , Edgar Hoover (1895-1972) , United States , Federal Bureau of Investigation , Biography , Government executives , Police , Communism , Twentieth-century history

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Awards & Honors

Kirkus Reviews Best Teen Books of 2012; NCSS Notable Social Studies Trade Books for Young People 2013, Reference

Praise & Reviews

Starred or favorable reviews have been received from these periodicals:

Booklist, The Horn Book Magazine, Kirkus Reviews*, School Library Journal*

School Library Journal

[STARRED REVIEW]
We hear a great deal in the media about the loss or watering down of American values. If Master of Deceit makes nothing else clear, it shows plainly that these issues are far from new, and that powerful people have always attempted to shape events and trends in ways that benefited them. It begins with a prolog

[STARRED REVIEW]
We hear a great deal in the media about the loss or watering down of American values. If Master of Deceit makes nothing else clear, it shows plainly that these issues are far from new, and that powerful people have always attempted to shape events and trends in ways that benefited them. It begins with a prologue discussing a letter to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., in 1964, a letter that threatened him with exposure of being a Communist pawn unless he committed suicide. It was penned by an FBI official in an attempt to impress his boss, J. Edgar Hoover. The text moves on to give a lucid account of the rise of the Communist Party in both Russia and the United States. It parallels the lives of John Reed and J. Edgar Hoover, showing the varying impacts of two strong personalities, and then moves on chronologically to cover the main events of Hoover’s life. Relying on wide reading and vast research, Aronson paints a nuanced and evenhanded portrait of a man who was complicated, almost certainly neurotic, and who had an iron will to control—both himself and others. Thoroughly discussing the FBI’s role in law enforcement, the McCarthy witch hunts and HUAC, campaigns against Dr. King and civil rights, and comparing the egregious violations of individual rights and due process committed by the agency to the conduct of post-9/11 containment and treatment of Arab Americans, this book is a must for high school students. Extensive use of black-and-white photos and period cartoons greatly enhances the text. The author’s closing note on “How I Researched and Wrote This Book” is both revelatory and engaging. This groundbreaking volume will encourage dialogue on tough issues of integrity, security, individual rights, and the shifting sands of American values.—Ann Welton, Helen B. Stafford Elementary, Tacoma, WA

Horn Book

Aronson’s biography of J. Edgar Hoover chronicles the facts of his personal life and his half-century-long stranglehold on the FBI: beginning during World War I, culminating with the Vietnam War (just shy of Watergate), and encompassing such diverse phenomena as Prohibition, the Cold War, and the civil rights movement. It duly notes his talen Aronson’s biography of J. Edgar Hoover chronicles the facts of his personal life and his half-century-long stranglehold on the FBI: beginning during World War I, culminating with the Vietnam War (just shy of Watergate), and encompassing such diverse phenomena as Prohibition, the Cold War, and the civil rights movement. It duly notes his talents for organization, motivation, and manipulation—and the tricks of his trade: secrets, lies, and grudges. The book also delves into the potential secrets in Hoover’s closet: a strange relationship with his mother, persistent rumors about his sexuality, and the possibility of a racially mixed ancestry. Perhaps Aronson’s greatest task, however, is to re-create, for a generation of readers for whom Communism is a relic of the past, the palpable fear of Communism and the formidable threat that it posed to the American psyche throughout most of the last century. Aronson succeeds admirably on all these fronts, but perhaps this last one best, especially when he reveals a chilling personal connection in an author’s note. The biography of an American villain, a history of America during the last century, and a meditation on what it means to be American in the present era—Aronson delivers another provocative book with an ambitious focus, sprawling and scattershot at times, but almost gloriously so. Notes, bibliography, image credits, and index are appended.

Book Details

ISBN

9780763650254

First Release

June 2012

Genre

Dewey Classification

363.25092 B

Trim Size

7 1/2" x 10"

Page Count

240

Accelerated Reader

Level 9; Points: 9;

Scholastic Reading Counts

Level 10.3; Points: 12;

Lexile

Level 1090L

Format

Print Book

Edition

Hardcover edition

Publisher

Candlewick

Potentially Sensitive Areas

Homophobic, anti-Semitic, and racist language, Suicide, Mention of rape

Topics

J, Edgar Hoover (1895-1972), United States, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Biography, Government executives, Police, Communism, Twentieth-century history,

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