In his new book, The Manufacture of Consent, Dr. Underhill treats J. Edgar Hoover’s tenure as FBI director as a case study in political power, focusing on the rhetorical nature of that power. He analyzes Hoover’s relationship with the presidency, the press, and the film industry to reveal the ways in which Hoover was able to use prevailing discourses of racial, gender, class, and religious hierarchies to dominate the media and to create and sustain the role of the FBI in United States society. Thus, the book illuminates both the history of the FBI and the political and ideological debates of the era. As Ned O’Gorman puts it, the book is a brilliant investigation into the ways J. Edgar Hoover coopted the rhetorical themes and techniques of twentieth-century American liberals and progressives to fortify a virtual American police state.
Dr. Underhill is an associate professor in the Department of Communication Studies at Marshall University. He served as the lead reference person for classified FBI and Department of Justice textual records at the U.S. National Archives and Records Administration at College Park, Maryland, from 2007 to 2012.The Manufacture of Consent: J. Edgar Hoover and The Rhetorical Rise of the FBI
is available at msupress.org
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