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Unredacted Episode 9: Interview with Burton Hersh

Welcome to Unredacted, the MFF's interview show featuring authors and experts on the Kennedy assassination and related topics. This episode features an interview with Burton Hersh, author of The Old Boys and the new book Bobby and J. Edgar: The Historic Face-Off Between the Kennedys and J. Edgar Hoover That Transformed America.

The story puts the relationship between Attorney General Robert Kennedy and FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover into a context which includes father Joe Kennedy's not-always-savory past, RFK's tenure with the McCarthy Committee and his disdain for its counsel Roy Cohn, mobsters including Frank Costello and Sam Giancana, and much of the rest of the saga of the Kennedy family. Drawing upon both published works and insider interviews, Hersh paints a complex portrait which neither vilifies nor glorifies either RFK or Hoover.

In this interview, Burton Hersh tells some of the stories recounted in his new book, and offers perspective on the era and the players.

Listen to the interview: (49 min)           Read Interview Transcript

Reviews of Bobby and J. Edgar

Collision Course, by David Corn, New York Times. See also Hersh's reply.

Trento's Column: Bobby and J. Edgar - A New Secret History, by Joe Trento,

Review of Burton Hersh's Bobby and J. Edgar, by Mel Ayton, History News Network.

Bobby and J. Edgar by Burton Hersh, by Jem Bloomfield,

Other Burton Hersh Interviews

Fresh Air, on NPR, 10 Sep 2007.

About Burton Hersh

Tree Farm Books offers information about Burton Hersh, The Old Boys, and The Nature of the Beast.

Essays by Burton Hersh

The First 150 Pages, in New York Times.

Other Books by Burton Hersh

The Old Boys
Burton Hersh
Tree Farm Books, 2001
The Shadow President: Ted Kennedy in Opposition
Burton Hersh
Diane Publishing Co., 1997
The Nature of the Best
Burton Hersh
Tree Farm Books, 2002
The Mellon Family: A Fortune in History
Burton Hersh
William Morrow & Co., 1978

About Burton Hersh

Burton Hersh is a journalist and author who has written extensively about the Kennedy family. His previous books include The Old Boys, a highly-regarded book about the origins of the CIA, and The Shadow President, a biography of Edward Kennedy.

About the Book

Bobby and J. Edgar: The Historic Face-Off Between the Kennedys and J. Edgar Hoover That Transformed America>
Burton Hersh
Carroll & Graf, 2007

From the Dust Jacket

"Most of us would be surprised to learn just how heavily intertwined are the histories of one of the most reviled and one of the most beloved American political icons. Together with RFK's father, Joe Kennedy, a man of mythic proportions who presided over the pairing, Bobby and J. Edgar formed a unique triumvirate marked by conflict and betrayal and, beneath if all, a near-Shakespearean familial bond.


Hersh reveals Joe Kennedy's successful plot to push Lyndon Johnson into the vice presidential nomination by secretly helping Hoover manipulate JFK and RFK, as well as RFK's scheme to drive Roy Cohn out of the McCarthy Committee, which ultimately helped destroy the controversial senator. The story extends through a web of alliance and deceit, adultery and sexual unorthodoxy, encompassing major figures from Joe McCarthy to Martin Luther King and Marilyn Monroe, from organized crime leaders Frank Costello, Johnny Rosselli, and Carlos Marcello to President Richard Nixon.

With compelling new research, Burton Hersh, a historian and the author of The Old Boys, sheds light on this complex relationship, from their early years in politics and their parallel rise to power, to their controversial deaths."

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