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Interest in J. Edgar Hoover is at an all time high thanks to the movie J. Edgar. Marc Dugain's Edgar's Curse is a riveting psychological portrait of a monstrous figure told through the fictional memoir of Clyde Anderson Tolson, the man Hoover called his alter ego. Tolson was not only Hoover's Assistant Director at the FBI, but also most likely his lover. Clyde portrays a homophobic homosexual—misogynous, racist, and paranoid; a Puritan obsessed by vice whose will to power eventually vouchsafed him a stranglehold over the entire American political class.
As imagined by Dugain, these "Memoirs Attributed to Clyde Tolson (1932-1972)" revisit some of the most notorious episodes in Hoover's forty-eight-year career. The reader is whisked through the gangster wars of the thirties, the counter-espionage campaigns of World War II, the McCarthy witch hunts, the Rosenberg affair, the Bay of Pigs, the attempts on Castro's life, the Kennedy assassinations, and the death of a famous blonde film actress. A persistent theme is Hoover's long-standing vendetta against the Kennedy clan, and while the Director's perfidy is clearly limned, the "dark side of Camelot" (to borrow Seymour Hersh's words) is likewise starkly illuminated. Another leitmotif is the fanaticism of Hoover's anti-Communism and its striking contrast to his reluctance to acknowledge so much as the existence of organized crime; his Machiavellian entanglement with the Mafia is masterfully portrayed by the faux Tolson.
Edgar's Curse is a page-turner, the sobriety of whose style is inversely proportional to the true scandalousness of its content. The book gives new meaning to Ronald Reagan's claim, upon Hoover's death, that "no twentieth-century man has meant so much to his country."
Marc Dugain : Marc Dugain is the prize-winning and best-selling author of The Officers’ Ward (J. C. Lattès, 1988; Phoenix House, 2000; and Soho Press, 2001; made into the film The Officer’s Ward, 2001), La malédiction d’Edgar (Editions Gallimard, 2005; film in production), Une exécution ordinaire (Gallimard, 2007, made into the acclaimed film An Ordinary Execution, 2010, directed by the author), and L’insomnie des étoiles (Editions Gallimard, 2010), among others. He is also an acclaimed playwright.