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Rhodri Jeffreys-Jones (born 28 July 1942) is professor of American history emeritus and an honorary fellow in History at the University of Edinburgh (School of History, Classics and Archaeology), Scotland. He is an authority on American intelligence history, having written two American intelligence history surveys and studies of the CIA and FBI. He has also written books on women and American foreign policy, America and the Vietnam War, and American labor history.



Jeffreys-Jones was born in Carmarthen and grew up in Harlech. He later attended the University College of Wales at Aberystwyth (now Aberystwyth University), taking a B.A. in 1963. During 1964-65 he pursued graduate study at the University of Michigan and, during 1965-66, at Harvard University. In 1967 Jeffreys-Jones took his PhD in American history at Cambridge University in England.[1]

He taught as a tutor of history at Harvard's Kirkland House, at Fitzwilliam College, Cambridge University, and for the Transport and General Workers Union before becoming a lecturer in history at the University of Edinburgh in 1967. After rising through the academic ranks --- lecturer and reader --- by 1997 he became the University's second professor of American history, or its first exclusive professor of American history, given that in 1965 George "Sam" Shepperson had become "Professor of Commonwealth and American History." During his career, Jeffreys-Jones held visiting appointments, including: a Postdoctoral Fellowship at the Charles Warren Center for the Study of American History at Harvard (1971–72); a Stipendiary at the JFK Institut für Nordamerikastudien, Berlin, Germany; and a Canadian Commonwealth Fellowship and Visiting Professor at the University of Toronto.[2]

Jeffreys-Jones began his scholarly pursuits examining the issue of violence in American industry during the Progressive Era, including the use of private detective agencies in labor disputes. Building on his work involving private detectives who collected intelligence for big business, Jeffreys-Jones then shifted his focus during the late 1970s to examine American secret intelligence, a time when the field began to blossom with the release of historical records and revelations of American intelligence agencies' activities. Jeffreys-Jones published an historical survey examining the development of American intelligence from the establishment of the Secret Service in the 19th Century to the CIA in the 20th. This was followed by one of the first academic histories of the CIA at a time when most studies were undocumented, a book examining American intelligence and exaggeration, and a history of the FBI in which Jeffreys-Jones traced its origins to the 19th century and the federal government's pursuit of the Ku Klux Klan.

More recent books by Jeffreys-Jones traced the history of British-American intelligence cooperation and the recent rise of European Union intelligence, and analyzed the achievements of the American left since 1900. The latter book was the winner of the Neustadt Prize for the best British book on American politics published in 2013. His latest book examines the history of surveillance in the USA and UK, arguing that we have neglected intrusions by the private sector.

Jeffreys-Jones has directed postgraduate students, master's and doctoral. Jeffreys-Jones was one of the founders of the Scottish Association for the Study of America.

Published worksEdit

  • We Know All About You: The Story of Surveillance in Britain and America (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2017)
  • The American Left: Its Impact on Politics and Society since 1900 (Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2013)
  • In Spies We Trust: The Story of Western Intelligence (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2013)
  • The FBI: A History (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2007).
  • Cloak and Dollar: A History of American Secret Intelligence (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2002).
  • Peace Now! American Society and the Ending of the Vietnam War (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1999).
  • Changing Differences: Women and the Shaping of American Foreign Policy, 1917-1994 (New Brunswick: Rutgers University Press, 1995).
  • The CIA and American Democracy (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1989).
  • Violence and Reform in American History (New York: New Viewpoints, 1978).
  • American Espionage: From Secret Service to CIA (New York: Free Press, 1977).

Articles and contributions to booksEdit

  • “The Sensitivity of SIGINT: Sir Alfred Ewing’s Lecture on Room 40 in 1927”, Journal of Intelligence History, 17/1 (2018): 18-29.
  • "Forcing Out Unwanted FBI Directors: A Brief, Messy History",Vox, 23 May 2017.
  • "Hector Davies: A Liberal at War," History, 102/350 (April 2017): 242-58.
  • "Verraden," Geschiedenis Magazine, No.1 (January/February 2017): 45-49.
  • "A brief history of the FBI’s meddling in US politics" Vox, 5 November 2016.
  • "Antecedents and Memory as Factors in the Creation of the CIA," Diplomatic History, 40/1 (January 2016): 140-54.
  • "Inter-Allied Commando Intelligence and Security Training in Gwynedd: The Coates Memoir", Intelligence and National Security, 30/4 (August 2015): 545-59.
  • "The Death of a Myth: How Socialism and the Left Succeeded in America", Reviews in American History, 43 (June 2015): 281-87.
  • "Jessie Jordan: A Rejected Scot who Spied for Germany and Hastened America’s Flight from Neutrality," The Historian, 76/4 (Winter 2014): 766-83.
  • "Eine Frage der Etikette – und Stratagie: Die gegen Deutschland gerichtete Spionage zeugt von amerianischer Unreife", Internationale Politike, 69/5 (September/October 2014): 74-77.
  • "The American Left: Its Impact on Foreign Policy," Passport: The Society for Historians of American Foreign Relations Review, 44 (September 2013): 53-54.
  • "Presidential and Prime Ministerial Women in the Americas: A List with Interpretations," History of Women in the Americas, 1/1 (2013): 1-16.
  • "The End of an Exclusive Special Intelligence Relationship: British-American Intelligence Co-operation Before, During and After the 1960s," Intelligence and National Security, 27/5 (October 2012): 707-721.
  • "Debating the Anglo-Celtic Divide" (a riposte to Thomas A. Breslin with his counter-riposte), Passport: The Society for Historians of American Foreign Relations Review, 42 (September 2011): 42-44.
  • "Organized Labor and the Social Foundations of American Diplomacy, 1898-1920," in Andrew Johnstone and Helen Laville, eds., The U.S. Public and American Foreign Policy (London: Routledge, 2010): 59-72.
  • "Changes in the Nomenclature of the American Left," Journal of American Studies, 44/1 (February 2010): 83-100.
  • "The Rise and Fall of the CIA," in Loch Johnson, ed., The Oxford Handbook of National Security Intelligence (New York: OUP, 2010): 122-137.
  • "The Antiwar Activists," in Mitchell K. Hall, ed., Vietnam War Era: People and Perspectives (Santa Barbara, CA: ABC-CLIO, 2009): 61-78.
  • "Rise, Fall and Regeneration: From CIA to EU," Intelligence and National Security, 24/1 (February 2008): 103-118.
  • "The Historiography of the FBI," in Loch Johnson, ed., A Handbook of Intelligence (New York: Routledge, 2006). pp. 39–51.
  • "The Idea of a European FBI," in Loch Johnson, ed., Strategic Intelligence, 5 vols., Vol. 4: Counterintelligence and Counterterrorism (New York: Praeger, 2006): 73–96.
  • "Europol and the FBI: Scope for Mutual Learning," Euobserver, 25 September 2006.
  • “Murder by Index Card: William Colby and the American Tradition of Atrocity Denial,” Diplomatic History, 28 (November 2004): 805-809.
  • “Wiseman, Sir George Eden (1885-1962),” in Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (2004).
  • “Women and Antiwar Activism,” in Robert J. McMahon, ed., Major Problems in the History of the Vietnam War, 3rd ed. (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 2003): 460-66.
  • “Man of the People? JFK and the Cuban Missile Crisis,” Reviews in American History, 30 (September 2002): 486-91.
  • “U.S. Intelligence and the Cult of the Confidence Man,” The Chronicle of Higher Education Review, 22 March 2002: B12-B13.
  • “William Colby (1920-1996),” in American National Biography, Supplement 1 (New York: Oxford University Press, 2002): 117-118.
  • “The CIA Contrick,” History Today, 51 (December 2001): 20-22.
  • “The WORM [White Old Rich Men] and the Vietnam War,” Society for Historians of American Foreign Relations Newsletter, 32 (March 2001): 30-36.
  • “The Role of British Intelligence in the Mythologies Underpinning the OSS and Early CIA,” Intelligence and National Security, 15 (Summer 2000): 5-19.


  1. ^ "Staff profiles: Professor Rhodri Jeffreys-Jones". University of Edinburgh. Retrieved 30 June 2013.
  2. ^ Source: Contemporary Authors Online, Thomson Gale, 2006

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