The FBI Story

Title:                      The FBI Story

Author:                  Don Whitehead

Whitehead, Don (1956). The FBI Story: A Report to the People. New York: Random House

LCCN:    56013186

HV8141 .W45

Date Updated:  March 31, 2016

What is the FBI? How did it come into being? What has it accomplished? What are its powers? Above all, what does the mere fact of its existence mean to Every Citizen of the United States?

This book, written with the cooperation of J. Edgar Hoover and FBI Personnel will answer these questions once and for all. The FBI Story, written by one of America’s top reporters, Don Whitehead, and with a foreword by J. Edgar Hoover, takes the reader behind the scenes to reveal the record of America’s crusade against crime and subversion. The book names names, places and events. You’ll read about cases which have made today’s headlines as well as about the celebrated cases and notorious events which made yesterday’s. You’ll read about the Black Tom explosion and other acts of sabotage which were the prelude to America’s entrance into World War I. You will find the case histories of the Wall Street Explosion and “Palmer’s Raids”; the Harding Era and Gaston Means. The gangsters’ rise to power in the roaring twenties and the “lady in red,” Pretty Ana Cump na, who betrayed John Dillinger, and Al Capone.

Here too are the Lindbergh Kidnapping, the Kansas City Massacre and many other cases which placed the FBI in the forefront of the public’s imagination. The FBI Story is the story too of Pearl Harbor, the capture of the Japanese espionage messages, the German saboteurs’ invasion of the United States and their capture, and other behind the scenes dramas of World War II. The book tells of the FBI’s secret operations in South and Central America and the experiences of its Special Intelligence Service (SIS). How the FBI tricked the Germans through double agent radio stations is a “stranger than fiction” story.

You’ll read of the FBI’s role in combating postwar crime as Don Whitehead reports on the kidnap murder of little Bobby Greenlease and the murder of a mother by her son high over a Colorado beet field when a plane fell carrying passengers and crew to their deaths.

The fight against Communism in the United States, Smith Act prosecutions and the gathering of evidence which made these prosecutions possible are all portrayed. Also related are the cases of Hiss and Klaus Fuchs and the theft of the atomic secrets and the Rosenberg and Greenglass cases, which are revealed in detail. The history of the FBI in reality represents the people’s efforts to achieve government by law. The FBI Story, then, is the story of America itself and the struggles to attain this ideal.

This is a review by the Defense Intelligence School.[1]

Although now somewhat dated, Whitehead provides a relatively comprehensive and solid treatment of the FBI history through the mid-19501s. The book conveys a favorable impression of the FBI’s activities and accomplishments.

Reviewed by Paul W. Blackstock and Frank L. Schaf[2]

An excellent history of FBI counterintelligence and security activities through the mid-1950s by a successful journalist-who had the full cooperation of J. Edgar Hoover and FBI personnel. There are sections on counterespionage and countersabotage activities against German intelligence in World Wars I and II. The account of the operations of the FBl’s Special Intelligence Service in positive intelligence and economic warfare in Latin America during 1940-46 is of special interest since this expansion of function caused bureaucratic squabbles with other intelligence agencies, especially the OSS. There is also a chapter on counterespionage and countersubversion activities against the Communist conspiracy in the early days of the cold war.

[1] Defense Intelligence School (1981). Bibliography of Intelligence Literature: A Critical And Annotated Bibliography of Open-Source Literature (7th ed, rev.). Washington, DC: Defense Intelligence School, p. 71

[2] Blackstock, Paul W. (1978) and Frank L. Schaf, Jr. Intelligence, Espionage, Counterespionage, And Covert Operations: A Guide to Information Sources. Detroit: Gale Research Co., p. 79


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4 Responses to The FBI Story

  1. Pingback: Hoover’s FBI | Intelligence Analysis and Reporting

  2. Pingback: Hoover’s FBI and the Fourth Estate | Intelligence Analysis and Reporting

  3. Pingback: Intelligence, Espionage, Counterespionage And Covert Operations | Intelligence Analysis and Reporting

  4. Pingback: Blackstock Selected Bibliography of Fifty Titles | Intelligence Analysis and Reporting

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