Don’t Shoot! We’re Republicans! will be in bookstores on August 15, and will have you smiling throughout the Prologue and Chapter One and laughing aloud in Chapter Two. The author Jack Owens, a Birmingham resident since 1970, has a droll wit and, although he took his work very seriously, never himself. He presents his memoir of 30 years in the FBI with both the drama and comedy of life. This is an unusual inside look at the FBI and how it really works, and how Bureau culture changes with each new FBI Director. For example, the complex and mysterious J. Edgar Hoover, could be despotically picayune, he once placed a ban on brown-bag lunches for agents, angrily declaring, “Brown bags are unprofessional. The practice must stop now! Today! Agents don’t brown-bag!” But there was also the more modern-thinking and democratic Louis J. Freeh, who broadened the recruitment of women into the Bureau and who initiated fitness programs for the agents.
Agent Jack Owens, takes the reader through the Bureau changes, and on stake-outs, chases and hunts for murderers, spies and robbers through Alabama, Georgia and Mississippi, ranging from the infamous case of Wayne Williams, the Atlanta Child Murderer, to Jerry, an Army deserter in the Alabama hills, caught sleeping with his boots on between his nude wife and girl friend.
We learn about the rigorous boot camp firearms training the young FBI candidates endure, and the pranks they pull on each other as well as on those in command.
We accompany him through his training as a counterspy. We glimpse the sometimes unfortunate toll taken on family life when one chooses the FBI as one’s career, but we also come to appreciate the one-for-all-all-for-one brotherly feeling that develops through time among the agents.
Although most of his years were spent in Alabama, Mississippi and Georgia, Jack Owens also worked undercover in counterintelligence in Washington DC, spent time on the FBI SWAT team in Birmingham and recruited women and minorities for the Bureau.
Don’t Shoot We’re Republicans is a smile-inducing read for those who like page turning “insider” books; and for the FBI aficionado. It is unique among the modern histories of the Bureau for it entertains while it informs giving it a distinctive place in the pantheon of FBI books.
In retirement, Jack Owens has written for Atlantic Monthly, Alabama Heritage and other magazines. He was, also, a cast member of the CBS-TV reality show Big Brother for 36 episodes.
Don’t Shoot We’re Republicans, 9781933909677, trade paper, will be published by Chronology Books, a new imprint of History Publishing Company, pub date, August 15, 2009 and will be in bookstores nationally.
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