What’s on the bookshelves today?
» 5. God Is Not Great
by Catherine Coulter (Penguin Group) $25.95
by Stephen King (Simon & Schuster Adult Publishing Group) $25
“The Diana Chronicles”
by Tina Brown (Doubleday Publishing) $27.50
by Joyce Meyer, Deborah Bedford (FaithWords) $21.99
Ken Ackerman examines early
days of J. Edgar Hoover’s FBI
‘ACE OF SPADES’
By Joanne Collings
Ken Ackerman is an Albany, N.Y., is that. We don’t have to prove that
ny, 2007); “it is sight that refuses to
ing into private practice, Ackerman an idea of how he got to be that way
QWhat in particular made you decide
to write about J. Edgar Hoover and
tee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and this part of his career?
I wanted to write a book
Weeda, P.C. In addition to his many of civil liberties in a time of nation-
can it be? I’d gesture a bit more with
published articles, he authored four al crisis, was very relevant to today.
books: “Gold Ring” (W. Clement When I first started looking at the
der of James A. Garfield” (Avalon, row’s point of view. The more I stud-
and, his new book, “Young J. Edgar” Palmer’s personality and role and
(Avalon, 2007). Mr. Ackerman lives J. Edgar Hoover, this young prodi-
QYou’ve written about several in-
teresting men and events. Do they
— I thought this is the way Wash-
have anything in common?
QThis period in American history
is very popular with writers at the
moment. Why do you think that is?
lives with her in her senior citizens’
It’s a very forgotten period.
What it said about the stability and that long ago our modern concep-
nature of our politics I thought was tion of the First Amendment real-
son from J. Edgar Hoover. Garfield I, for instance, could be arrested
was a very decent, honest man. I and thrown in prison for ten years
saw a contradiction in Boss Tweed for giving a speech; that was com-
that I thought had been missed by monplace. The Labor Movement Movements also as a Bolshevik off-
many people. On the one hand, he had reached a stage where the no-
shoot. It’s almost like going to a for-
tion of a Bolshevik-style uprising in eign country. This was the world my
because they were very much an with her in Europe) white mother.
hand, he was a big-hearted person alistic. I was very struck by the lev-
who did a lot of good and who’s still el of very explicit, very pronounced
en by other events, the Depression in his life. Matthews never knows,
QI don’t remember learning about
thought of very warmly by people in racism, anti-Semitism, [and] xeno-
the Palmer Raids. Has that been
and World War II. There’s been a re-
phobia against Eastern Europeans your experience with readers? Why do
cent debate about whether Hoover’s
tively passing.” If so, he never gives
you think that is?
name should be taken off the FBI it away.
We have a very selective mem-
eryone I’ve written about, the least American fabric and was consid-
pleasant person personally, the one ered acceptable. [I] read the files of ple and as a country. If you go to a ing of what can go wrong. But if we New York City, “an eight-mile gum-
you would least actually want to the Military Intelligence Division bookstore and look at the Ameri-
really knew our history, there ought bo of ultracondensed multicultur-
meet and have dinner with. I write at the time about Louis Brandeis, a can history section, there are hun-
about a period in his life before he sitting Supreme Court Justice, and dreds of books about the Civil War tion department named after Lou-
became the very corrupted, very the way he was tracked around the and World War II and the Founding is Post. He’s someone who showed tion, he has to find the truth about
set-in-his-ways autocrat of his later world for his Zionist activities and Fathers and then a lot of blind spots [how] a government official ought the mother who has had no role in
phies have found it . important to onism and Bolshevism; the way that written about and is very much mis-
knock down the image of Hoover as they tracked the Irish Independence
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