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Book Review: “Puppetmaster – The Secret Life of J. Edgar Hoover” by Richard Hack

Book Review: “Puppetmaster – The Secret Life of J. Edgar Hoover” by Richard Hack

If we went for a coffee today, I might bring this up. I had no idea how corrupt the U.S. Government was back in the day. This was an eye-opening book, again, in a topic that I don’t know anything about. It’s not that I have never heard of J. Edgar Hoover, I have heard lots of people talking about how significant Hoover was, but I didn’t know anything about him.

Well…

What a character!

Hoover was basically an only child growing up, and excelled at everything he did. He was a loner, and may have been diagnosed on the autism spectrum if he was around today. His accomplishments as a youth were really incredible. He had what we would consider an ideal upbringing when it came to church and church attendance and participation as well. Sadly, he didn’t maintain that.

He really only had one job, working his way up from mail clerk while he was going to law school at night, all the way to the top job of the F.B.I. He was there when it was created, and was the driving force behind it’s genesis. He worked very hard, days, nights and weekends and was a diligent, meticulous government employee in his younger years.

When he finally rose to power, he kept his power, essentially by collecting people’s secrets and doing quite a bit of spying on fellow citizens without legal authorization. He was drawn to the salacious, and kept a private stash of pornographic material that had been collected by agents. Incredibly, there doesn’t seem to be any record of him personally acting on that pornographic material even though he never married. He died an old man, full of stress and years of spoiling himself. His faithful and long time secretary discretely destroyed all the sensitive, secret and illegal files that he kept.

Not only was he adept at discovering and keeping people’s private information, he was also skilled at public relations and had a well-crafted image in the media of himself and his department. Paranoia seemed to be the stimulus for that fastidious pursuit.

This was a well written book. For someone like me with no background information about Hoover, it served my purposes well.

The big takeaway for me, however, was the realization of how corrupt the U.S. Government has been. Hoover’s story started with President Harding and I was reading voraciously having no idea that this is how politics has worked for a very long time. As Hoover’s story continued through Roosevelt, Truman, Kennedy, LBJ, Nixon, over and over the corruption stood out to me. I suppose this is just how things actually get done, or not done. Incredible. May God have mercy on America.

We absolutely have to return to a moral society that prizes truth-telling, character and right-ness instead of expediency.

Let’s close this post on a high note…

I found this book in a thrift store that U-Turn for Christ runs in Crystal River, the same one that I found “Born Fighting” in. Two great reads, and a heavy dose of American History for almost no money! Love it!

 
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Posted by on March 14, 2022 in Book Review

 

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Book Review: “Born Fighting – How the Scots-Irish Shaped America” by Jim Webb

Book Review: “Born Fighting – How the Scots-Irish Shaped America” by Jim Webb

So, a few weeks ago, I was invited to meet a couple of pastors for lunch and fellowship at Calvary Chapel Crystal River in Florida. While we were there, we toured the U-Turn Ranch they have established, and the nearby Thrift Store that is part of that ministry.

I’m a sucker for the book section at Thrift Stores and that’s where I spotted this book.

It was fascinating. The author charts the history of the Scots-Irish people from Scotland at the time of the Roman Empire when they built Hadrian’s wall all the way to the present day. What I didn’t know is that all of that redneck, hillbilly, good-ol’boy, mountain people, country people can be traced back to these Scots-Irish people and their culture.

The author’s premise, is that it’s this culture, shaped by the events starting with the Romans, through the English kings, through the migration to Ireland and the Ulster plantation and eventually to the Appalachian Mountains is the dominant culture that shaped the United States.

When he gets to the American Revolution, his argument begins to take shape, how it was this culture, patriotic, independent, yet able to organize into effective fighters was the main driver of the revolution. It was the soft, aristocratic, educated, plantation owners on the coasts that gave the intellectual reasoning, but these guys got the job done.

Andrew Jackson was the quintessential product of this culture and made the biggest impact as president. He stands in the same line as William Wallace.

I appreciated the time the author took to describe the Civil War from the perspective of families and people from this culture. That story is not often told.

And, then the author finished the book by describing his own parents and grandparents. These are incredible stories and represent many of the experiences of many Americans.

A more recent, and more emotional rendering of this culture is “Hillbilly Elegy” by JD Vance. They made a movie of that book that in my opinion doesn’t capture the full story. I think every pastor in America should read that book.

If you’re short on American history, and like me, weren’t paying attention at all in high school, this book will help you get up to speed pretty quickly, no matter what part of the country you are in.

 
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Posted by on February 21, 2022 in Uncategorized

 

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