Publication Date: 30/03/2023 ISBN: 9780857201058 Category:


Beverly Gage

Publisher: Simon & Schuster Ltd
Publication Date: 30/03/2023 ISBN: 9780857201058 Category:




Winner of the Pulitzer Prize for Biography 2023
Winner of the 2022 National Book Critics Circle Award in Biography
Winner of the 2023 Bancroft Prize in American History and Diplomacy
Winner of the American History Book Prize
Shortlisted for the 2023 PEN/Jacqueline Bograd Weld Award for Biography

When he became director of the FBI in 1924, J. Edgar Hoover was a dazzling wunderkind buzzing with big ideas for reform.

He transformed a failing law-enforcement backwater, riddled with scandal, into a modern machine. He believed in the power of the federal government to do great things for the nation and its citizens. He also believed that certain people – many of them communists or racial minorities – did not deserve to be included in that American project.

In her nuanced and definitive portrait, Beverly Gage charts Hoover’s rise to power, as he used the tools of state to create a personal fiefdom unrivalled in U.S. history. Hoover was not above blackmail and intimidation, and his conservative values ranged from white supremacy to a crusading and politicized interpretation of Christianity. But he was more than a one-dimensional tyrant who strong-armed the country into submission. As FBI director for almost fifty years, he was a confidant, counsellor, and adversary to eight U.S. presidents, four Republicans and four Democrats. His conservative values won him the admiration of millions of Americans. He stayed in office for so long because many people, from the highest reaches of government down to the grassroots, wanted him there. And he has done more to shape the political right today than many presidents.

G-Man places Hoover back where he once stood: at the centre of American political history. In telling his story, Gage shines a light on great social and political changes in 20th century America, from policing and civil rights to political culture and ideology.

‘Revelatory’ New York Times

‘Astonishing’ The New Yorker

‘Masterful…This book is an enduring, formidable accomplishment, a monument to the power of biography [that] now becomes the definitive work’ The Washington Post

Publisher Review

'Captivating. Nuanced, incisive, and exhaustive, this is the definitive portrait of one of 20th-century America's most consequential figures' * Publishers Weekly * "This is a monumental work about power, responsibility, and democracy itself. With deep research, an engaging voice, and penetrating insights, Beverly Gage has crafted a portrait of a man and a country in all its complexity and contradiction. To understand who we are, Gage argues, we need to understand the rise and reign of J. Edgar Hoover. And this book is now an indispensable element in the unending work of grasping the nature of our flawed nation." -- Jon Meacham * Pulitzer Prize winner and author of American Lion: Andrew Jackson in the White House * 'Masterful . . . an enduring, formidable accomplishment, a monument to the power of biography' * Washington Post * "Beverly Gage has created a masterwork of biography that reveals the contradictions of the American Century through a man who embodied nearly all of them. Those seeking to understand the conservative movement, American authoritarianism and backlash to progress will find much here, as will those interested in liberalism and the transformative power of government." -- Heather McGhee * author of The Sum of Us: What Racism costs everyone and how we can prosper together * "An incomparable portrait of one of the most influential and reviled figures in American history. In stunning detail, Beverly Gage presents J. Edgar Hoover's complex life and career within the wider political contexts and cultural value systems that facilitated his rise to power-and his notorious, often discriminatory abuses of that power-as FBI director for nearly a half century. This extraordinary biography raises critical questions about the scope of police authority, the contours of citizenship, and the limits of democracy that strongly resonate." -- Elizabeth Hinton * author of America on Fire: The Untold History of Police Violence and Black Rebellion Since the 1960s * "Good biographers know that their first obligation is to understand their subject, and only then to commend or condemn. That's long seemed impossible for J. Edgar Hoover, who shrouded himself in secrecy while publicizing the organization he led. Beverly Gage, however, has found her way, triumphantly, through Hoover's contradictions. G-Man is rigorously researched, vividly written, and, most remarkably, fair. It will long remain the definitive account." -- John Lewis Gaddis * author of George F. Kennan: An American Life * "What hath Hoover wrought? No one has answered that question as exhaustively or as astutely as the inimitable Beverly Gage. Hoover, at long last, has met his match. G-Man is unflinching, incisive, and riveting, part biography, part political thriller, and much more: an essential new history of twentieth-century America." -- Jill Lepore * author of These Truths: A History of the United States * "Essential reading for those who care about government power and constraint-which should be all of us. In clear, accessible writing, Beverly Gage offers a thorough and fair-minded appraisal of the twentieth century's most powerful American, one whose legacy and shadow still hang over Washington. We should know this history, or be condemned to repeat it." -- James Comey * former director, FBI, and author of A Higher Loyalty: Truth, Lies, and Leadership * 'Crisply written, prodigiously researched, and frequently astonishing' * New Yorker *

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