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About The Book

Winner of the Pulitzer Prize for Biography 2023
Winner of the 2022 National Book Critics Circle Award in Biography

Winner of the 2023 Bancroft Prize in American History and Diplomacy
Winner of the American History Book Prize
Shortlisted for the 2023 PEN/Jacqueline Bograd Weld Award for Biography

When he became director of the FBI in 1924, J. Edgar Hoover was a dazzling wunderkind buzzing with big ideas for reform.

He transformed a failing law-enforcement backwater, riddled with scandal, into a modern machine. He believed in the power of the federal government to do great things for the nation and its citizens. He also believed that certain people – many of them communists or racial minorities – did not deserve to be included in that American project.

In her nuanced and definitive portrait, Beverly Gage charts Hoover’s rise to power, as he used the tools of state to create a personal fiefdom unrivalled in U.S. history. Hoover was not above blackmail and intimidation, and his conservative values ranged from white supremacy to a crusading and politicized interpretation of Christianity. But he was more than a one-dimensional tyrant who strong-armed the country into submission. As FBI director for almost fifty years, he was a confidant, counsellor, and adversary to eight U.S. presidents, four Republicans and four Democrats. His conservative values won him the admiration of millions of Americans. He stayed in office for so long because many people, from the highest reaches of government down to the grassroots, wanted him there. And he has done more to shape the political right today than many presidents.

G-Man places Hoover back where he once stood: at the centre of American political history. In telling his story, Gage shines a light on great social and political changes in 20th century America, from policing and civil rights to political culture and ideology.

'Revelatory' New York Times

'Astonishing' The New Yorker

'Masterful…This book is an enduring, formidable accomplishment, a monument to the power of biography [that] now becomes the definitive work' The Washington Post

About The Author

Beverly Gage is professor of 20th-century American history at Yale. She is the author of The Day Wall Street Exploded, which examined the history of terrorism in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. She writes for the New York Times, the Washington Post, the New York Times Magazine, and the New Yorker, among other publications.

Product Details

  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster UK (July 19, 2023)
  • Length: 864 pages
  • ISBN13: 9780857201058

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Raves and Reviews

‘Captivating. Nuanced, incisive, and exhaustive, this is the definitive portrait of one of 20th-century America’s most consequential figures’

– Publishers Weekly

'A monumental work about power, responsibility, and democracy itself. With deep research, an engaging voice, and penetrating insights, Beverly Gage has crafted a portrait of a man and a country in all its complexity and contradiction'

– Jon Meacham, Pulitzer Prize winner and author of American Lion: Andrew Jackson in the White House

‘Masterful . . . an enduring, formidable accomplishment, a monument to the power of biography’

– Washington Post

'A masterwork of biography that reveals the contradictions of the American Century through a man who embodied nearly all of them'

– Heather McGhee, author of The Sum of Us: What Racism costs everyone and how we can prosper together

'An incomparable portrait of one of the most influential and reviled figures in American history. In stunning detail . . . this extraordinary biography raises critical questions about the scope of police authority, the contours of citizenship, and the limits of democracy that strongly resonate'

– Elizabeth Hinton, author of America on Fire: The Untold History of Police Violence and Black Rebellion Since the 1960s

'Rigorously researched, vividly written, and, most remarkably, fair. It will long remain the definitive account'

– John Lewis Gaddis, author of George F. Kennan: An American Life

'Hoover, at long last, has met his match. G-Man is unflinching, incisive, and riveting, part biography, part political thriller, and much more: an essential new history of twentieth-century America'

– Jill Lepore, author of These Truths: A History of the United States

'Essential reading for those who care about government power and constraint—which should be all of us. In clear, accessible writing, Beverly Gage offers a thorough and fair-minded appraisal of the twentieth century's most powerful American, one whose legacy and shadow still hang over Washington. We should know this history, or be condemned to repeat it'

– James Comey, former director, FBI, and author of A Higher Loyalty: Truth, Lies, and Leadership

‘Crisply written, prodigiously researched, and frequently astonishing’

– New Yorker

'Revelatory… an acknowledgment of the complexities that made Hoover who he was, while charging the turbulent currents that eventually swept him aside'

– New York Times

'Gage’s penetrating account of Hoover’s career, especially his many long-eclipsed triumphs, offers a well-timed and sobering perspective as yet another institution in our fractured country struggles to maintain trust'

– The Atlantic

'Gage’s triumph is her deft navigation through Hoover’s ‘deep state,’ while reminding us of the abuse of power that remains his enduring legacy'

– The Boston Globe

'Judicious… make[s] you realise…Hoover’s half-century of immense influence rested on his mastery of a very American art – the crafting of his image'

– The Nation

'Gage has done a service to history with this clear-eyed portrait of a man who was, for better and for worse, very much an American of his century'

– The American Scholar

'A welcome reevaluation of a law enforcement legend'

– Kirkus Reviews

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