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Great Lives: J. Edgar Hoover

February 16 @ 7:30 pm

J. Edgar Hoover

Lecture Date: February 16, 2023

The John and Linda Coker Lecture

We remember J. Edgar Hoover as a bulldog–squat frame, bulging wide-set eyes, fearsome jowls. But in 1924, when he became director of the FBI, he was the trim, dazzling wunderkind of the administrative state, buzzing with energy and big ideas for reform. 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 or both– did not deserve to be included in that American project. Hoover shaped the FBI with both ideas in mind, decade after decade, using the tools of state to create a personal fiefdom unrivaled in U.S. history.

Drawing on her new biography, G-Man: J. Edgar Hoover and the Making of the American Century, Beverly Gage will explore the full sweep of Hoover’s life and career, from his birth in 1895 to a modest Washington civil-service family through his death in 1972 at the pinnacle of American power. In her nuanced and definitive portrait, Gage places Hoover back where he once stood in American political history–not at the fringes, but at the center–and uses his story to explain the trajectories of governance, policing, race, ideology, political culture, and federal power as they evolved over the course of the 20th century.


February 16
7:30 pm
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University of Mary Washington


Dodd Auditorium
1301 College Avenue
Fredericksburg, VA 22401 Select a Country:
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