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The Secrets of the FBI

By Ronald Kessler

Crown, 296 pages, $30

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Just when you thought you knew more than you wanted to know about the late FBI director J. Edgar Hoover, along comes Ronald Kessler to raise the scandal ante. We knew Hoover, who ran the Federal Bureau of Investigation like a fiefdom for 48 years, was vain, self-aggrandizing and rumoured to be, deliciously, a secret cross-dresser. He also preferred pursuing outlaws such as John Dillinger to an assault on organized crime and kept files on a host of "subversive" enemies, such as Eleanor Roosevelt and Frank Sinatra (more than 1,250 pages). But Kessler, who has written extensively on the FBI and Central Intelligence Agency,gives us more dirt: Hoover agents kept extensive records of Martin Luther King's vigorous sex life; his agents documented secret meetings between Bobby Kennedy and Marilyn Monroe; he used FBI employees for such things as painting his house and preparing his tax returns; he probably engaged in blackmail. Juicy stuff, but you may need a shower afterward.

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