Its agents were regarded — with ample justification — as quasi-criminals whose main motivation was to line their own pockets. But then they were so badly trained and their powers were so limited — they were forbidden to carry guns, or even make arrests until — that it was hardly surprising they were such a hopeless rabble. He promptly fired around a quarter of all agents and instigated mandatory training for the ones who remained.
He enforced strict rules of conduct - agents had to wear white shirts and black wing-tip shoes, and to be as courteous as they were efficient. For reasons no one seems able to explain, he also forbade the drinking of coffee at work after 8. As far as Hoover was concerned, the future of crime detection lay in scientific innovation. Deeply conservative in many respects, here at least he was way ahead of the game.
This pioneered a number of techniques including investigation of different blood types, handwriting analysis and wire-tapping. But perhaps his greatest triumph was in PR. At a time of deep financial depression, when crime was being seen as increasingly glamorous, he persuaded his fellow Americans that bankrobbers such as John Dillinger and Machine Gun Kelly — both of whom he was instrumental in catching - were not romantic folk-heroes but ruthless killers.
Above all, by dint of a weekly radio address, comic strips featuring heroic bureau officers, as well as an unflagging appetite for self-publicity, he created an image of America as a place where the rule of law held sway. Certainly it goes some way to humanising him, seeing him less as a frothing maniac and more as a victim of his own pathologies. But not everyone is happy — and especially not the J Edgar Hoover Foundation, which is up in arms over the way in which the film portrays Hoover as having a homosexual relationship with Clyde Tolson.
It would be a grave injustice and a monumental distortion to proceed with such a depiction based on a completely unfounded and spurious allegation. Though no one can know his private side with certainty, we hope that a thoughtful, intelligent portrayal of the man will put his life story in proper historical context. This exchange of letters took place before Branon had seen the film. I worked with both Hoover and Tolson.
Trust me, neither of them were gay. If anything, Hoover was like an monk - the FBI was his church. The journalist and historian Charles Johnson, author of a forthcoming biography of Calvin Coolidge, also doubts if Hoover was gay. A lot has been made about how he lived with his mother for a long time, but that was pretty common for people who lived in Washington at the time.
So why has Hoover been so demonised? Heilbrunn reckons that to a large extent he was a victim of the times that immediately followed his death. There was a pervasive distrust of American institutions and Hoover was seen as the spider in the centre of the web. He always pushed it too far and nobody dared pull him down to size.
On May 1 , Hoover arrived home at around Nixon told him that after 48 years of controlling law enforcement in America, he was finally being kicked out. There, she found his body lying beside the bed. As rigor mortis had set in, it was estimated that Hoover had been dead since about 2am. I guess death does that to you. Yet death did not diminish Hoover — quite the reverse.
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Terms and Conditions. Style Book. Weather Forecast. Accessibility links Skip to article Skip to navigation. Friday 22 November In defence of J Edgar Hoover After his death in , Hoover's reputation swiftly changed from that of a man of integrity and honour to one of a 'monster'. Is it time to revisit the charge sheet against him? Open to the public ; Haileybury College Libraries. Not open to the public Held. Not for ILL. Wangaratta Library.
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