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J. Edgar Hoover’s Former Assistant Reveals Complex Character of FBI’s First Director in New Book

By Steve Neavling

The former assistant of J. Edgar Hoover has written a book about the FBI’s first director. 

“The Director: My Years Assisting J. Edgar Hoover” was written by Paul Letersky, who later became a field agent in Cincinnati and Alexandria, Va.

The book explores Letersky’s two years as Hoover’s assistant and then his time as a field agent. 

“Letersky offers less a historical breakthrough than finer brushstrokes on an American icon, whom the author describes as kind, courteous, formal, thoughtful, fearless, occasionally funny, a perfect gentleman and a devout patriot,” The Associated Press writes in a review of the book. “He also could be vindictive, closed-minded, hypocritical and a holder of eternal grudges who sincerely thought he was serving his country. In his later years, however, Hoover apparently was oblivious to ethical lapses such as bugging the Rev. Martin Luther King’s hotel rooms.”

According to the book, Hoover was a workaholic who dedicated his life to the FBI. He was a tough boss who demanded accountability, and he had no tolerance for out-of-shape agents. 


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