J Edgar Hoover Books & Quotes


Laurel King, Contributor

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j edgar hoover quotesAlthough there are several writings and books by J. Edgar Hoover, there is an ongoing belief that the books were ghostwritten by other employees in the FBI. The book Persons in Hiding, published in 1938, is a discussion regarding crime and related components such as women, hero worship, evils of the parole system, blackmail, extortion, and more. In the book, well-known criminal cases are used to illustrate the main points, and useful suggestions are mentioned, including educating the public, treating crime as a social problem, and the need for an increase in the police force. Although it is not a behind-the-scenes look at the FBI, it is a valuable tool in understanding criminal investigation and prosecution at the time.

The J. Edgar Hoover book Masters of Deceit: The Story of Communism in America and How to Fight It (1958) is a valuable examination at communism in America and how it might shape the future of the country. Many historians have suggested it was actually written by Agent Fern Stukenbroeker, a researcher in the FBI who worked in the Crime Records Division, and was considered an expert in subversive groups.

Books on J. Edgar Hoover number in the hundreds. Although his work in the FBI is rife with controversy, and his life was filled with secrecy, it is undisputed that he was responsible for changing the way America investigated and pursued criminals. As with any story of J. Edgar Hoover, there must be a discussion about his secrets. In fact, a book by Curt Gentry, J. Edgar Hoover: The Man and the Secrets (2001) addresses precisely that topic. Even critics praise Gentry's book as the most extensive and controversial work on the topic, written by the coauthor of Helter Skelter. This book delves into the dark side of politics in America, focusing particularly on Hoover's list of 'enemies' including his obsessively relentless Martin Luther King, Jr. investigation.

There are many J. Edgar Hoover quotes ring true to his personal beliefs, as well as his publicly stated opinions. Ironically, many of his quotes are directly contradictory to his behavior: "Truth-telling, I have found, is the key to responsible citizenship. The thousands of criminals I have seen in 40 years of law enforcement have had one thing in common: Every single one was a liar."

Other famous quotes:

"No amount of law enforcement can solve a problem that goes back to the family."

"The cure for crime is not the electric chair, but the high chair."

"We are a fact-gathering organization only. We don't clear anybody. We don't condemn anybody."

"Just the minute the FBI begins making recommendations on what should be done with its information, it becomes a Gestapo."

"Justice is incidental to law and order."

"Banks are an almost irresistible attraction for that element of our society which seeks unearned money."

"The individual is handicapped by coming face-to-face with a conspiracy so monstrous he cannot believe it exists."

"I regret to say that we of the FBI are powerless to act in cases of oral-genital intimacy, unless it has in some way obstructed interstate commerce."