On June 2, 1919, bombs exploded simultaneously in nine American cities, igniting a "red scare" that gripped the nation. Attorney General A. Mitchell Palmer vowed a crackdown and assigned 24-year-old ex-librarian and Department of Justice agent J. Edgar Hoover to organize a series of brutal, nationwide raids and to assemble secret files on thousands of political enemies. Despite the abuses, these were the first steps in Hoover's remarkable rise to power. In this "fast-paced" (Kirkus Reviews) account of Hoover's early career, Boss Tweed biographer Kenneth D. Ackerman adroitly captures the pathological character of the young Hoover and the corrupting nature of power when wielded by flawed government officials.
Kenneth Ackerman's extremely well-written and thoroughly researched history … convincingly refutes Hoover's dishonest effort to minimize his own central role in promoting the first Red Scare."—Athan Theoharis