Douglas M. Charles, assistant professor of history at Penn State Greater Allegheny, will speak on the topic "The Real J. Edgar Hoover" from 6 to 8:45 p.m. on Thursday, Monday, March 12, in the Ostermayer Room in the Student Community Center on campus.
Charles will also be on the History Channel's alternate channel, called "H2," on Monday, March 5, as a commentator for their show "Ten Things You Don't Know About J. Edgar Hoover."
Charles is the author of J. Edgar Hoover and the Anti-interventionists, which describes how FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover catered to President Franklin D. Roosevelt?s political interests in order to preserve his position and to expand FBI authority. In his effort to service administration political goals, Hoover employed illegal wiretaps and informers, collected derogatory information, conducted investigations, forwarded political intelligence to administration officials, and coordinated some activity with British intelligence. This all occurred within a crisis atmosphere created with the onset of the Second World War, and it was this political dynamic that permitted Hoover to successfully cultivate his relationship with President Roosevelt and expand FBI authority.
In his latest book, The FBI?s Obscene File, Douglas Charles reveals how, for more than 70 years, FBI officials placed obscenity, pornography, and the politics of morality among their utmost concerns. By illuminating this largely neglected aspect of FBI history, Charles charts the evolution of the bureau?s efforts to combat the spread of obscenity and its perceived insidious effects. He contends that, especially during the five decades under J. Edgar Hoover, these efforts became a surprisingly high priority and at times were expressly wielded for political ends, even as Hoover hid the file from public view in order to preserve the Bureau?s squeaky-clean image.
Charles?s appearance is a part of the Globalization and Sustainability Speaker Series sponsored by Penn State Greater Allegheny?s Teaching International, Greener Allegheny, and Honors Programs.
For more information about the J. Edgar Hoover event, contact academic affairs at 412-675-9052.