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The book reveals how Hoover helped create McCarthyism, blackmailed the Kennedy brothers, and influenced the Supreme Court; how he retarded the civil rights movement and forged connections with mobsters; as well as insight into the Watergate scandal and what part he played in the investigations of President John F.

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The secret life of J Edgar Hoover

A Stay of Execution. A Problem of Identity. The Man Who Came to Dinner. The View from the Balcony. The Kennedys. He paused, but only for a second, then knocked, knowing there would be no answer, yet hoping that he was wrong.

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As he hesitantly tried the doorknob, he found the door unlocked. The Boss always locked himself in for the night, like some enigmatic treasure in danger of being ravaged.


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Pushing open the door, Crawford moved into the dark space cautiously, uncertain. The black of the room was blanket thick, the windows blocked by shades and draperies and further covered by Chinese screens. Still, the light from the hallway was enough for Crawford to make out the bulky, unmoving form lying on the floor next to the bed. Reaching it, he found flesh cold to the touch, a body hardened by rigor mortis. Edgar Hoover, the man who personified law and order in modern America, was dead. Wearing silk pajama bottoms and no shirt, he seemed smaller now—no longer the giant who, for nearly half a century, molded the Federal Bureau of Investigation and cast it in his own concept of purity and allegiance.

Old and crumpled, Hoover had died as he had lived, alone and isolated. As an adrenaline surge spiked nerve endings into motion, Crawford raced from the room, calling out to Annie, his fluttering heart threatening to fly from his chest and across the room. America was about to change as well, and for a few brief moments only the three black servants gathered excitedly in a Washington, D. Tolson had to know first, for he, above anyone, would understand the implications. Since , it was Tolson who had assisted the Boss as his chief cheerleader, administrator, organizer, and best friend.

Too good of a friend, some said, as rumors of a homosexual relationship between the two men refused to die despite repeated denials. Tolson himself had been in ill health for several years, with a serious heart condition and advanced high blood pressure. He also had suffered several strokes that left him partially paralyzed.

Yet when the associate director of the FBI answered the telephone and heard the news, his reaction was not one of hysteria or grief but rather stoic silence, which Crawford attributed to shock. Placing the telephone receiver back on its hook, Tolson moved more out of habit than grief.

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Each morning the pair normally rode the short distance to the Justice Department together; each evening met again for dinner. Together they dined on Omaha Steaks, baked potatoes, baby peas—with vanilla ice cream for dessert. A perfect final meal, Tolson thought as he watched Moton drive up in the familiar armored Cadillac. Washington, D.

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Even as Moton was helping Tolson into the back seat of the black limousine, word began to spread systematically about the death of a man many considered to be indestructible. As each person received the shocking news, the groundswell grew in direct proportion to the importance of the man. Gandy had worked for Hoover for 54 years, having first met the director when she was a file clerk in the Justice Department. She shed no tears; in fact, she was totally devoid of emotion as she related the news. The Boss would have wanted it no other way.

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It was left for Mohr to tell his own boss, third in command Mark Felt, the deputy associate director. Despite his many years with the Bureau, Felt had held his current position for only 10 months, and, as such, had yet to prove himself to Clyde Tolson or Helen Gandy. Mohr, by contrast, was a Tolson confidant and had been an FBI agent for 33 years.

Tolson knew he could rely on Mohr to handle the funeral arrangements and inform the various Bureau offices that their venerable leader was dead. Robert V. Haldeman, who had been informed by Kleindienst. That old cocksucker! Choisser was equally surprised at the news, having only months before given Hoover a complete physical and a clean bill of health.


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It was 10 a. Annie, who could not bring herself to look at the body, cleaned the bathroom but otherwise left the scene untouched. Elsewhere on Thirtieth Place NW, it seemed like a typical spring morning. The sky was spotted with enormous clouds, more sharp edged than billowy, like cotton balls washed in alcohol. On the street, neighbors walked their dogs, blissfully unaware that an icon had fallen.

Clyde Tolson sat in the living room, occupying the same pale-green occasional chair he always used when visiting. Alone, introspective, his lips moving in silence, Tolson seemed oblivious to the federal agents who had just arrived to stand guard at the front and back doors under orders from John Mohr.

They shared a common thread of shock, so permanent a fixture had Hoover become in law enforcement legend, so indelible his contribution. It was the perfect solution. That afternoon, the president wrote in his private diary:. It would have killed him had he been forced out of office or had resigned even voluntarily. He expressed his appreciation for that call and also expressed his total support for what we are doing in Vietnam. Yes, the perfect solution.

And the perfect opportunity to sanctify the fallen icon with a state funeral.

J. Edgar Hoover

Nothing better than pageantry to bury any lingering rumors of animosity and showcase the president in an election year. He served his nation as Director of the FBI for 48 years under eight American Presidents with total loyalty, unparalleled ability and supreme dedication. It can truly be said of him that he was a legend in his own lifetime. In times of controversy, Mr. Hoover was never a man to run from a fight. His magnificent contribution to making this a great and good nation will be remembered by the American people long after the petty carpings and vicious criticisms of his detractors are forgotten.

The FBI is the eternal monument honoring this great American. Nixon ordered all flags on government buildings to be lowered to half-staff, except the one flying atop FBI headquarters.