... there has never been an account quite like The Director ... a vivid, foibles-and-all portrait of the fabled scourge of gangsters, Klansmen and communists ... This is no hagiography ... Mr. Letersky’s riveting book will be fresh meat for people who think they know all about Hoover and an education for the rest ... Mr. Letersky doesn’t let...tasty but essentially trivial tidbits crowd out his treatment of the big questions about Hoover and the FBI ... The author also deals straightforwardly with the incessant rumors about Hoover’s relationship to tall, ruggedly handsome Clyde Tolson, his top deputy, fellow bachelor and inseparable companion.
An admiring but not uncritical account of Letersky’s years in the FBI’s innermost circles ... The author also sheds light on Hoover’s well-known antipathy for Martin Luther King Jr. ... fascinating ... A fly-on-the-wall portrait of Hoover’s last years as America’s top cop, of interest to students of crime—and rumor.
Though the criticisms of Hoover are mild and somewhat grudgingly offered ... Letersky provides insight into how the agency’s 'top brass,' including 'Watergate leaker' W. Mark Felt, vied for power and influence, and sheds light on the day-to-day workings of the bureau ... Letersky also offers intriguing profiles of FBI associate director Clyde Tolson and Hoover’s longtime assistant Helen Gandy, who exerted her influence to protect a young Letersky after Hoover berated him for an early misstep. Ultimately, Letersky’s unique vantage point and colorful anecdotes are undermined by his unwillingness to provide more than a superficial critique of Hoover’s abuses of power. This rose-colored reminiscence disappoints.