The People Vs J Edgar Hoover

Publisher:
BBC

The People Vs J Edgar Hoover

5.0/5

Critic Rating

An examination, half a century on from the first director of the FBI's death in office in 1972, of how Hoover's iron grip still permeates contemporary America.


Critic Reviews

Score: 5

Patricia Nicol • The Times UK Jun 19, 2022

"This feels like the kind of assured, immaculately assembled historic overview that would only be made — in this country at least — by the BBC. The story it tells is compelling. Maitlis is a terrific presenter: assured, pithy and getting away (just) with campily ratcheting up the drama..."

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Score: 5

Darragh McManus • Independent.ie Jun 18, 2022

"It’s constructed around great old audio footage — a lot of it has that evocative static crackle — of some of those involved in the strange days when Hoover basically turned a huge nation into his own personal peep show."

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Score: 5

Rachel Cunliffe • New Statesman Jun 15, 2022

"This is a story about unaccountable power, and the inability of creaking political structures to react when institutions take on an agenda of their own. But it’s also a story about data. By gathering information on anyone who could be a potential threat or asset to him, an unelected bureaucrat became one of the most powerful men in the land."

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Score: 4.8

D.J. Taylor • The Tablet UK Jun 23, 2020

"BARELY 10 SECONDS of this scrupulously researched eight-parter had gone by before the air was thick with the sound of dirt being flung at the all-too-solid figure of its subject. Doubt, paranoia, fear – the procession of abstract nouns issuing from the mouth of its jaunty presenter, Emily Maitlis, had no end...If Maitlis sounded more than usually engaged, it was because much of this was transparently personal. By chance the obituaries of her father, Professor Peter Maitlis, appeared in the week the series began."

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