Friday, May 11, 2012

Can Anyone Even TRY to Write a Biography Worth of Hoover's Insanity?

I love graphic novels. I think that they’re a fantastic medium to explore a multitude of topics. Sadly, besides memoirs, there are very few nonfiction graphic novels (I am aware of the contradiction in that statement). So when I stumbled upon Rick Geary’s graphic biographies, I felt like the graphic novel deities had granted my wish. Sadly, I don’t think that this series is all that it’s cracked up to be. In fact, I would stick to his series on Victorian era murders.

I am not going to rely the entire biography of J. Edgar Hoover here. If you’re interested in his life, go see the new movie or Google it. Instead, this review is going to focus on this specific biography. Like Geary’s work in his other series, his graphics are used to illustrate the very dry text that he supplies. In fact, the book reads more like a timeline than an enthralling biography. At just about 100 pages, there really isn’t enough room to really delve into the conflicting aspects of Hoover’s character.
Hoover in 1959. Courtesy of the FBI

Personally, I had never read anything about Hoover so I was hoping to learn a great deal from this book. Unfortunately, the facts came at me rapid fire and I had difficulty remembering them once I closed the book. That being said, I think that people who are familiar with his life may enjoy this book as a refresher. The graphics are typical Geary but they somehow lose their charm in this book. Of course this is not a comment on all of his graphic biographies (though I took a stab at the issue on Trotsky and couldn’t get through it). For me, I’m going to stick with his previous series instead!

Similar Reads (but better): The Victorian Murder Series by Geary

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