G-Men, Hoover's FBI in American Popular Culture

By Richard Gid Powers; Daniel M. Finnegan | Go to book overview

BIBLIOGRAPHY

Probably no institution in recent American history has been the subject of such massive and partisan publicity and study as Hoover's FBI. Compounding the problem raised by the sheer bulk of this material is the evanescent and highly perishable nature of much of it. Daily newspaper accounts of fast-breaking cases, news photos of Hoover and his prize catches, weekly installments of FBI entertainment on radio, television, and the comics—this constituted Hoover's FBI for generations of Americans; and not only is much of this material scattered and lost, but without an imaginative recreation of its emotional impact on the public at the time it is just so much flat seltzer. In addition to contemporary treatment of the FBI in the popular press, on radio, television, and film, I have found the following works helpful, organized beneath five headings: theoretical approaches to the cultural function of crime and punishment; popular crime entertainment and studies of its cultural function; materials dealing with the popular audience's historical fascination with real-life criminals and lawmen; FBI publicity produced by Hoover's highly prolific publicists and published under Hoover's name; finally, studies of Hoover and the FBI, journalistic and scholarly, friendly and unfriendly and, in by far the smallest category of all, objective.


1. Theoretical Approaches

The FBI's role in American culture has to be evaluated in the context of the contributions that politics, law enforcement, mass communications and popular entertainment make to cultural solidarity. I have found these works helpful in formulating the theoretical approach I have followed in this book.

Andenaes, Johannes. Punishment and Deterrence. Ann Arbor: Univ. of Mich. Pr., 1974.

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