Senator Frank Church of Idaho was an unlikely hero. He led congressional opposition to the Vietnam War and had become a scathing critic of what he saw as American imperialism around the world. But he was still politically ambitious, privately yearning for acceptance from the foreign policy establishment that he hated and eager to run for president. Despite his flaws, Church would show historic strength in his greatest moment, when in the wake of Watergate he was suddenly tasked with investigating abuses of power in the intelligence community.
Curiously, Risen strains to absolve Robert Kennedy for his complicity, as his brother’s attorney general, in the surveillance of Martin Luther King Jr ... Risen’s admiration for Church, whom he describes as an “American Cicero” and “a radical in senatorial clothing,” inclines him to triumphalism ... Risen also neglects to speculate as to what the object of his adulation would have to say about the way so many in the modern Democratic Party worship at the feet of the national-security state he devoted his career to reining in.