Russell Baker


Russell Baker is a former columnist and correspondent for The New York Times and The Baltimore Sun. His books include The Good Times, Growing Up, and Looking Back.

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  • Secrets of the Keeper of Secrets

    November 29, 2011

    Clint Eastwood is now eighty-one, a mellow age that tends to breed a gentle tolerance, if not sardonic forgiveness, for life’s brutes and rogues. This may explain the curious lack of menace in the J. Edgar Hoover he conjures up in J. Edgar, his low-voltage cinematic speculation on the character of America’s most famous cop. J. Edgar Hoover without menace is like Boris Karloff without bolts in his head. Not an old softie, to be sure, but Eastwood’s Hoover--though a sly, neurotic, and occasionally vicious bureaucrat--is scarcely a patch on the real-life Hoover who, as creator and director of the FBI from 1935 to 1972, once lurked in the nightmares of almost everyone with an interest in government and many more who simply went through life feeling guilty.