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Publisher's Summary

The Bureau takes listeners behind the scenes of the FBI, from its creation in 1908 to the scandals of present day.

Based on exclusive interviews, Kessler reveals the inside story surrounding the events of September 11 and the investigation into the anthrax mailings. The Bureau delves deep within the agency, presenting the organization in its historical context and answering questions concerning its somewhat checkered past.

This incredible book includes the first definitive evidence that Hoover blackmailed Congress with information from his secret files; the source of Senator Joseph McCarthy's bogus claims that there were 205 Communists in the State Department; the truth about J. Edgar Hoover's sexual orientation; and the disastrous Freeh years, and Robert Mueller's efforts to correct the problems created by Freeh.

©2002 Ronald Kessler; (P)2002 Blackstone Audio, Inc.

Critic Reviews

"A must-read...a compelling account." (Philadelphia Inquirer)
"The reading is excellent, adding a substantial dimension to absorbing material." (Kliatt)
"Colorful and fascinating...Kessler's sobering report...will come as a surprise to most readers - and possibly even Washington insiders....Chilling." (Washington Post Book World)

What members say

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  • Overall
  • Blake
  • Annapolis, MD, United States
  • 09-21-09

Good Read, Bad Listen

This audio book is a great example of how a good book can be butchered by a bad narration. Kessler uses his connections within the FBI to present an interesting history of the Bureau from J. Edgar Hoover to the modern era, providing some depth on a number of headline cases and skimming over quite a few lesser ones. The book's sub-title "The Secret History of the FBI" is very misleading. There's little information here that's not covered elsewhere, particularly in the narratives on Hoover, the Lindbergh kidnapping, organized crime cases, Martin Luther King and the civil rights era as well as old and recent spy cases. However, Kessler digs up information on the inner workings of each of the FBI's directors, particularly William Sessions that is not well known. The section on Sessions and his wife alledges numerous ethical allegations, much previously reported. If you're interested in an overview of the history of the FBI, hitting on the key figures and cases, this is an good choice. But READ it. The audio narration of this work by Raymond Todd is just short of horrendous. Todd plods through the pages as if he's in a hurry to finish and get to another appointment. It's clear that there was no effort to edit the audio and clean up mistakes, of which there are numerous. It's also clear the narrator did not pre-read the material before firing up the microphone. The "Road and Gun Club" not "Rod and Gun Club" is just one example of numerous misreads. The listener can hear the reader squirming in his chair, there's moments when it sounds like the narrator is eating and sometimes getting dry throat or choaking. Worst the is apathetic tone throughout the read that made me wish I had the book in hand rather than the narrator in my ears for 17+ hours.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Rich
  • MILLINGTON, MI, United States
  • 05-19-09

Good book poor narator

This has to be one of the most annoying narrators I've listened to all the way through. I can handle mono-tone and other quirks, but this guy doesn't know how to pronounce MANY simple words/names. i.e. SAC ("Sack"; for Special Agent in Charge), Ickes (Harold Ickes, pronounced Ick-ees, has been in democratic administrations from FDR to Clinton), and many more.

7 of 9 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Kevin
  • Winder, GA, United States
  • 04-27-10

Not a History of the F.B.I.

When you read a variety of history on many subjects for a few decades, you are able to quickly tell quality writing from the junk. This book, unfortunately, is the latter. If you are want to know how the Bureau works, achieves, struggles etc. - keep on looking. This is basically an anti-Hoover rant. Speed read by the breathless Mr. Todd (who sounds like he got a bonus for finishing this read as fast as possible), this is the worst possible combination of People's magazine history delivered in a rapid and detached manner. One would think, reading this thing, that the F.B.I. has accomplished nothing of consequence in its history. Yes, J. Edgar Hoover was a strange and petty man (duh!) but reducing the history of the F.B.I. to a listing of his flaws is demeaning to the many expert, accomplished professionals who have worked at the Bureau over the years and a simplistic presentation of "history" better fit for a comic books and simpletons. Listener beware!

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story
  • Wil
  • Olympia
  • 05-12-13

Another splendid piece by Mr Kessler

Another "Home Run" Ron. You're insight on the subject is so worth the listen. As someone who is fascinated by the history of The Bureau, work was a pleasure for me. Thank you!

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

Interesting Book

Would you consider the audio edition of The Bureau to be better than the print version?

Yes, I did follow along with the print. The audio made the time move faster.

Who was your favorite character and why?


Have you listened to any of Raymond Todd’s other performances before? How does this one compare?


Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?


  • Overall
  • James
  • Seattle, WA, United States
  • 03-18-10

Story Well Told!

This audio book was interesting from start to finish. It really gave a nice historical overview of The FBI and it's many colorful characters.

I learned a lot and encourage others to take a listen!