Master of Deceit by Marc Aronson

Master of Deceit by Marc Aronson


Author:Marc Aronson [Aronson, Marc]
Language: eng
Format: epub
ISBN: 978-0-7636-5619-5
Publisher: Candlewick Press
Published: 2012-07-21T16:00:00+00:00

Hoover enjoyed betting on races (especially at the Del Mar track, where there was little risk), being with guys, and rubbing shoulders with celebrities. This card is from the track’s founders: singer Bing Crosby, actor Pat O’Brien, and businessman Bill Quigley.

Almost all the African Americans he worked with — even if they were officially FBI agents — acted as his domestic help, driving his car, grooming his garden, or cleaning his house. The Jews he knew were allies in anti-Communism (such as McCarthy’s aide Roy Cohn) and/or wealthy themselves (such as the liquor magnate Lewis Rosenstiel). Hoover was clean, successful, and supremely powerful. And then there was McCarthy, just at the edge, ready to go back out into the world, to do the dirty work.

During the visit to the Del Charro, Hoover gave an interview with a local newspaper and spoke appreciatively about McCarthy: He “is a former Marine. He was an amateur boxer. He’s Irish. Combine those, and you’re going to have a vigorous individual, who is not going to be pushed around. . . . I view him as a friend and believe he so views me.” McCarthy was the man’s man who would “attack subversives” and take heat for it. “But,” Hoover added, using the formula that defined his own life, “sometimes a knock is a boost.” McCarthy was the young tough who was going to swing away at the nation’s enemies while his proud godfather watched from within his gated compound.

Murchison had been one of the secret sponsors when McCarthy used a fake photo against Tydings. H. L. Hunt, another very wealthy Texas oilman, paid for radio and television shows that spread the message of extreme anti-Communism. The Hunt broadcasts were explicitly anti-Semitic and racist — one program defended slavery in America as “benign” compared to “barbaric” practices in Africa. That was the outer fringe of the anti-Communist movement. With McCarthy leading the way, a chill edge of fear influenced the entire nation. The Smith Act of 1940 had made it illegal for Communists to speak about revolution, even if there was no evidence that they were plotting any action. By 1954, 52 percent of Americans felt that all Communists should be put in prison, while an astonishing 80 percent believed Communists should lose their citizenship.

There was no room in the law anymore for John Reed, or Paul Robeson, or the angry Richard Wright. In a strict sense, Communist ideas were legal, but Communist Party leaders were convicted criminals. People who owned copies of books by Marx and Lenin began to cover them with brown paper and hide them on their shelves. This was no idle fear. Indeed, in one case, a government employee was considered unreliable because “you maintained in your library books on Communism, Socialism, and Marxism.”

Hoover no longer gallivanted around with Tolson in eye-catching white suits and expensive leather shoes. Though they still sometimes wore similar suit jackets, the colors were gray, the styling conventional. They were meant to look just like every other office manager.


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