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The FBI, A Hundred-Year Retrospective

Authors

  • William J. Vizzard

    Corresponding author
    1. California State University, Sacramento
      William J. Vizzard is a professor and chair of the Division of Criminal Justice at California State University, Sacramento. He spent 30 years in the field of criminal justice with the Fresno County, California, Sheriff’s Department and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, where he served as a special agent, group supervisor, and special agent in charge. He is the author of In the Cross Fire: A Political History of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (Lynne Rienner, 1997) and Shots in the Dark: The Politics, Policy and Symbolism of Gun Control (Rowman & Littlefield, 2000), as well as many articles on justice policy and federal law enforcement.
      E-mail: vizzard@csus.edu
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William J. Vizzard is a professor and chair of the Division of Criminal Justice at California State University, Sacramento. He spent 30 years in the field of criminal justice with the Fresno County, California, Sheriff’s Department and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, where he served as a special agent, group supervisor, and special agent in charge. He is the author of In the Cross Fire: A Political History of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (Lynne Rienner, 1997) and Shots in the Dark: The Politics, Policy and Symbolism of Gun Control (Rowman & Littlefield, 2000), as well as many articles on justice policy and federal law enforcement.
E-mail: vizzard@csus.edu

Abstract

No civilian government agency in the United States has received as much attention from authors as the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Much of the early writing consisted of laudatory pieces that parroted the output of the agency’s extensive public relations apparatus. This was followed by a reactive era of critical literature following the Watergate scandal and the death of J. Edgar Hoover. This article surveys the key literature on this controversial agency, including both perspectives and insider memoirs, Hoover biographies, and recent scholarly works.

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