The Lawfare Podcast
J. Edgar Hoover and the Making of the American Century
J. Edgar Hoover served as director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation for 48 years, from 1924 until 1972. Since his death, Hoover has become one of the most reviled figures in American history due to FBI operations under his leadership to spy on Americans, including government officials, in order to manipulate democratic politics.
To discuss Hoover's extraordinary role in American politics in the 20th century and the continuing influence of his legacy today, Lawfare co-founder and Harvard Law professor Jack Goldsmith sat down with Yale University history professor Beverly Gage, who is the author of a new biography of Hoover called, “G-Man: J. Edgar Hoover and the Making of the American Century.” They discussed why Hoover's place in American history is much more complex than conventional wisdom suggests; Hoover as a master bureaucrat who managed the press, Hollywood, and senior government officials to maintain enormous popularity throughout his reign as FBI director; how Hoover, the fierce anti-communist, was the key to the elimination of McCarthyism in the 1950s; and much, much more.