From The Secret Files Of J. Edgar Hoover / Edition 1

Paperback (Print)
Buy New
Buy New from
Used and New from Other Sellers
Used and New from Other Sellers
from $1.99
Usually ships in 1-2 business days
(Save 90%)
Other sellers (Paperback)
  • All (23) from $1.99   
  • New (8) from $11.97   
  • Used (15) from $1.99   


Documents uncovered from the late FBI director's secret files reveal for the first time the shocking extent of FBI activities in collecting and using derogatory information about prominent Americans and political groups. Historian Athan Theoharis charges that Hoover was an "indirect blackmailer," exploiting the FBI's resources to serve the political interests of the White House and to advance his own political and moral agenda. None of the documents in five separate secret files was intended ever to be disclosed; Mr. Theoharis procured them after intensive research in FBI files using the Freedom of Information Act. The memoranda, letters, telephone transcriptions, and other materials printed here detail a wide range of excesses and include Hoover's providing information about political adversaries to the Johnson and Nixon White Houses; John F. Kennedy's affair with Washington gossip columnist Inga Arvad; FBI monitoring of Supreme Court clerks and staff; the tracking of Adlai Stevenson by the FBI as a homosexual; Hoover's interest in the drinking and sexual habits of congressmen; an anonymous letter attacking Martin Luther King, Jr., composed and sent to Dr. King by the FBI; and much more. Mr. Theoharis describes Hoover's ingenious Do Not File system as well as the FBI's Sex Deviate program and Obscene File.

Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

Chicago Tribune
Fascinating...this book simply cannot be dismissed.
— Stanley Kutler
Hoover may have died without leaving us an autobiography that might have enriched history and gossip, but that loss has been handsomely repaired by Professor Athan Theoharis.
— Murray Kempton
The New York Times
— Herbert Mitgang
Newsday - Murray Kempton
Hoover may have died without leaving us an autobiography that might have enriched history and gossip, but that loss has been handsomely repaired by Professor Athan Theoharis.
Chicago Tribune - Stanley Kutler
Fascinating...this book simply cannot be dismissed.
The New York Times - Herbert Mitgang
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
These selections from Hoover's official and confidential file, obtained under the Freedom of Information Act, reveal how the former FBI director was able to advance his own bureaucratic, political and moralistic agenda by ``indirect blackmail'' throughout his 48-year tenure. Excerpts from memoranda, letters and phone transcriptions include FDR adviser Harry Hopkins's entreaty that the Bureau wiretap his residence and tail his wife; compromising conversations between Navy ensign John Kennedy and a gossip columnist suspected of being a German spy; Nixon staffer H. R. Haldeman's request for ``a rundown on homosexuals known and suspected in the Washington press corps''; and the full text of the notorious FBI-written letter encouraging Martin Luther King Jr. to commit suicide. As Theoharis aptly remarks, these files document the perils that unelected officials can pose for a constitutional government. Hoover's willingness to authorize illegal investigative techniques is clearly revealed here. Theoharis is a professor of history of Marquette University in Milwaukee, Wis. (Sept.)
Library Journal
Today, years after his death, Hoover's name still sends shivers down many a spine in Washington. Theoharis, a coauthor with John Stuart Cox of a previous Hoover biography, The Boss ( LJ 6/1/88), has made skillful use of the Freedom of Information Act and public documents to compile a sketch via FBI files of Hoover's propensity for wiretapping, bugging, and developing files on public persons with or without the knowledge of his nominal boss, the U.S. Attorney General. After an insightful history of the Bureau, section one presents selected files examining the alleged and real sexual indiscretions of JFK, Robert Kennedy, Eleanor Roosevelt, and Martin Luther King Jr. Pointing out evidence against King, Theoharis notes that King tried to have Hoover fired, earning him the wrath of the FBI. Subsequent chapters examine the FBI's ``investigative'' techniques, its relationship with Presidents and the McCarthy committee, and the uses of public relations and the role of the director. Highly recommended for general libraries and specialized researchers. See also Curt Gentry's J. Edgar Hoover: The Man and the Secrets , reviewed in this issue, p. 110.--Ed.--Frank Kessler, Missouri Western State Coll., St. Joseph
Some of the sleaziest from J. Edgar Hoover's five secret files--none of the documents ever meant to be disclosed. Theoharis finally got to them through the Freedom of Information Act. There is a grim fascination in the wide range of surveillance and monitoring applied to nearly everyone but actual criminals. Published by Ivan R. Dee, Inc., 1332 North Halsted Street, Chicago, IL 60622-2632. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (
New York Times
— Herbert Mitgang
New York Newsday
Hoover may have died without leaving us an autobiography that might have enriched history and gossip, but that loss has been handsomely repaired by Professor Athan Theoharis.
— Murray Kempton
Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781566630177
  • Publisher: Ivan R Dee
  • Publication date: 3/1/1993
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 391
  • Product dimensions: 6.48 (w) x 8.52 (h) x 1.05 (d)

Meet the Author

Athan Theoharis is professor of history at Marquette University. His many books include The Boss, From the Secret Files of J. Edgar Hoover, Spying on Americans, Beyond the Hiss Case, Seeds of Repression, and The Yalta Myths. He lives in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Be the first to write a review
( 0 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star


4 Star


3 Star


2 Star


1 Star


Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation


  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously

    If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
    Why is this product inappropriate?
    Comments (optional)