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The Contradictions of J. Edgar Hoover

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Many great figures in American history are full of contradictions. Thomas Jefferson wrote stirringly about liberty while owning human beings as property. Woodrow Wilson was both the idealistic author of the 14 Points, and a racist who re-segregated the federal work force. But few figures in American history embody as many contradictions as the two featured in this week’s Horns of a Dilemma: Lyndon Johnson, and J. Edgar Hoover. Yale Professor Beverly Gage discusses her new biography of Hoover, G-Man: J. Edgar Hoover and the Making of the American Century. Beause she is speaking at the LBJ library, she focuses particularly on the relationship between Hoover and Johnson. Her talk is humorous, informative, and helps to highlight the way in which Hoover played a critical role in both securing and undermining many of the civil liberties that define contemporary American society.

Image:Library of Congress via Underwood and Underwood.

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