Born in Carmarthen, at the age of six I moved to Harlech in North Wales attending the local primary school and then the comprehensive, Ysgol Ardudwy. My BA was from the University College of Wales, Aberystwyth and my PhD from Cambridge University.
After tutoring at Kirkland House, Harvard, at Fitzwilliam College, Cambridge and for the Transport and General Workers Union, I arrived in Edinburgh in 1967 as an assistant lecturer and remained here except for periods of leave to take up the following appointments: Postdoctoral Fellow, Charles Warren Center for the Study of American History, Harvard University; Stipendiary, JFK Institut für Nordamerikastudien, Berlin and Canadian Commonwealth Fellow and Visiting Professor, University of Toronto. I was Professor of American History from 1997 to 2007 and am now Professor Emeritus. In the past I served as Chair of the Department of History and as Head of the History subject area. I was founder and first chair of the Scottish Association for the Study of America and am that organization’s Honorary President.
My work has appeared in my native Welsh language and in the following: Chinese, Dutch, English, German, Hebrew, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Polish, Portuguese and Spanish. Various of my books have been selected (in the USA) for the History Book Club, the Book of the Month Club, the Doubleday Book Club and the Editor’s Pick list of the Foreign Policy Association. My book The American Left: Its Impact on Politics and Society since 1900 (Edinburgh University Press) won the Richard E. Neustadt Prize for the best book of 2013 on U.S. government, politics and political history written by a U.K. based scholar.
Honorary president of SASA
We Know All About You: The Story of Surveillance in Britain and America (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2017): https://global.oup.com/academic/product/we-know-all-about-you-9780198749660
Chatham House address, “Should a Government Spy on its Citizens?”, 3 April 2017, https://www.chathamhouse.org/event/should-government-spy-its-citizens
Blog: 'What Orwell and Snowden Overlooked' (April 2017): https://blog.oup.com/2017/04/orwell-snowden-private-surveillance/