Professor Rhodri Jeffreys-Jones (BA, PhD)

Emeritus Professor of History


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, Spanish, and Turkish. 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.

External appointments

Honorary president of SASA

Vice-president, Clwb Rygbi Harlech

Useful Links

'Learning the Scholar’s Craft: A Journey with Enid Jones, John Hope Franklin, Sir Denis Brogan, Sidney Fine, and Oscar Handlin,' H-DIPLO, 29 April 2020:

Spectator, The Book Club interview with Sam Leith, 17 August 2022:

BBC History Magazine History Extra podcast, 26 Sept 2022:

History Hit: 'CIA: The History'. Podcast interview. Autumn 2022. .

WGN TV Chicago interview, 28 Nov 2022:

Research summary

The histories of espionage and of Harlech.


  • Britain & Ireland
  • Europe
  • Latin America
  • North America
  • Scotland


  • Diplomatic History
  • Gender
  • Politics
  • Society
  • War


  • Nineteenth Century
  • Twentieth Century & After

Current research interests

Recent developments in the history of the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency (CIA). Continuing research on the cultural history of Harlech in the Welsh and English languages.

Knowledge exchange

Nid bid byd heb wybodaeth; gwaith yn y cyfryngau Gymraeg a Saesneg.

Project activity

Completion of book titled ‘Allan Pinkerton: His Life and His Legacies’.

Books – Authored

A Question of Standing: The History of the CIA (Oxford: Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2022).

The Nazi Spy Ring in America: Hitler’s Agents, the FBI, and the Case that Stirred a Nation (Washington, D.C.: Georgetown University Press, 2020).

Ring of Spies: How MI5 and the FBI Brought Down the Nazis in America (Cheltenham: The History Press, 2020).

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, CT: Yale University Press, 2007).

The CIA and American Democracy, 3rd ed. (New Haven. CT: Yale University Press, 2003 [1989]).

Cloak and Dollar: A History of American Secret Intelligence (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 2002).

Peace Now! American Society and the Ending of the Vietnam War (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1999).

Changing Differences: Women and the Shaping of American Foreign Policy, 1917-1994 (New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press, 1995).

Violence and Reform in American History (New York: New Viewpoints, 1978).

American Espionage: From Secret Service to CIA (New York: Free Press, 1977).

Books – Edited

With Andrew Lownie, North American Spies: New Revisionist Essays (London: Lume, 2020 [1992]).

With David Stafford, American-British-Canadian Intelligence Relations, 1939-2000 (London and Portland, OR: Frank Cass, 2000).

With Christopher Andrew, Eternal Vigilance? 50 Years of the CIA (London and Portland, OR: Frank Cass, 1997).

Eagle Against Empire: American Opposition to European Imperialism, 1914-1982 (Aix-en-Provence: Publications Université de Provence for European Association for American Studies, 1983).  

With Bruce Collins, The Growth of Federal Power in American History (Edinburgh and DeKalb, IL: Scottish Academic Press and Northern Illinois University Press, 1983).

Other – Since 2015

“The Inside Story of the CIA v Russia – from cold war conspiracy to ‘black’ propaganda in Ukraine” Insights, The Conversation, 25 August 2022:

“Allan Pinkerton: Informed Scot or Scottish Informer?” Journal of Scottish Historical Studies, Vol 42, No. 2 (2022): 197-216.

With R. Gerald Hughes, “Timely Memoirs and the ‘British Invasion’: Two Trends in the Historiography of the CIA,” Journal of Intelligence History (23 March 2022 online):

“A Forgotten Scandal: How the Nazi Spy Case Affected American Neutrality and German Diplomatic Opinion,” Passport: The Society for Historians of American Foreign Relations Review (September 2020). Pp. 45-48.

“Leon Turrou: The Greatest Detective of Them All?” Strand Magazine, 10 September 2020:

“Leon Turrou and the Nazi Spy Ring in America,” The Historian, 82/2 (2020). Pp. 138-55. 

 “Nazispionnen in Washington, 1937”, Geschiedenis Magazine, 55/5 ((July/August 2020): 20-24.

 “What Burleson and Orwell Overlooked: Private Security Provision in the United States and the United Kingdom,” in David Churchill, Dolores Janiewski and Pieter Leloup, eds., Private Security and Modern States: Historical and Comparative Perspectives (London: Routledge, 2020). Pp. 214-31.

“Learning the Scholar’s Craft: A Journey with Enid Jones, John Hope Franklin, Sir Denis Brogan, Sidney Fine, and Oscar Handlin,” H-DIPLO, Essay 221, 29 April 2020:

"American Espionage: Lessons from the Past," The Brown Journal of World Affairs, 26/1 (Fall/Winter 2019): 93-106.

“The Sensitivity of SIGINT: Sir Alfred Ewing’s Lecture on Room 40 in 1927,” Journal of Intelligence History, 17/1 (2018). Pp. 18-29.

“Forcing Out Unwanted FBI Directors: A Brief, Messy History”, Vox, 23 May 2017.

"Hector Davis: A Liberal at War," History, 102/350 (April 2017): 242-58.

"Verraden," Geschiedenis Magazine (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.

"State Surveillance is More Ethical than Private-Sector Intrusions," Wired (January/February 2016): 97.

"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.

Other – selected pre-2015

"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

“Allies Have Always Spied on Each Other”, New York Times, 25 October 2013:

“A Critique of the Surveillance Flap”, e-International Relations, 30 June 2013.

“The top 10 classic spy novels”. Guardian, 26 June 2013.

“Presidential and Prime Ministerial Women in the Americas: A List with Interpretations,” History of Women in the Americas, 1/1 (2013). Pp. 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). Pp. 706-720.

“Angleton’s Self-Validating Fallacy”, Diplomatic History, 34 (September 2010). Pp. 761-64.

 “Changes in the Nomenclature of the American Left,” Journal of American Studies, 44/1 (February 2010). Pp. 83-100.

“Organised Labour 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). Pp. 59-72.

“The Antiwar Activists.” In Mitchell K. Hall, ed., Vietnam War Era: People and Perspectives (Santa Barbara, CA: ABC-CLIO, 2009). Pp. 61-78

 “Bureaucracy or Censorship? An Experience with the FBI,” Passport: The Newsletter of the Society for Historians of American Foreign Relations, 39 (September 2008). P. 47.

“Rise, Fall and Regeneration: From CIA to EU,” Intelligence and National Security, 24/1 (February 2008). Pp. 103-118.

“Commentary: Loch Johnson’s Oral History Interview with William Colby, and Johnson’s Introduction to that Interview,” in R. Gerald Hughes, Peter Jackson and Len Scott, eds., Exploring Intelligence Archives: Enquiries into the Secret State (New York: Routledge, 2008). Pp. 270-73.

 “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). Pp. 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). Pp. 805-809.

“Wiseman, Sir George Eden (1885-1962),” in Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (2004), vol. 59. Pp. 850-51.

“Women and Antiwar Activism,” in Robert J. McMahon, ed., Major Problems in the History of the Vietnam War, 3rd ed. (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 2003). Pp. 460-66.

“Man of the People? JFK and the Cuban Missile Crisis,” Reviews in American History, 30 (September 2002). Pp. 486-91.

“William Colby (1920-1996),” in American National Biography, Supplement 1 (New York: Oxford University Press, 2002). Pp. 117-118.

 “The Role of British Intelligence in the Mythologies Underpinning the OSS and Early CIA,” Intelligence and National Security, 15 (Summer 2000). Pp. 5-19.  

 “Dorothy Detzer,” in John A Garraty and Mark C. Carnes, eds., AMERICAN NATIONAL BIOGRAPHY (New York: Oxford University Press, 1999), VI. Pp. 492-494.

“Why Was the CIA Established in 1947?” Intelligence and National Security, 12 (January 1997). Pp. 21-40.

As project manager, with Philip Cullis, Lawrence Smith, Tom Velek and Patrick Mescall. “The Use of Computers in Teaching American History”, History, 81 (January 1996). Pp. 55-64.

“Massachusetts Labor, Henry Cabot Lodge, and the Abortion of Empire,” in Serge Ricard and Hélène Christol, eds., Anglo-Saxonism in U.S. Foreign Policy: The Diplomacy of Imperialism, 1899-1919 (Aix: Publications de l’Université de Provence, 1991) Pp. 25-47.

"Lord Lothian: Ambassador 'To a People'," in John Turner, ed., The Larger Idea: Lord Lothian and the Problem of National Sovereignty (London: Historians' Press, 1988) Pp. 77-92.

 "The CIA and the Demise of Anti-Anti-Americanism: Some Evidence and Reflections," in Rob Kroes and Maarten van Rossem, eds., Anti-Americanism in Europe, European Contributions to American Studies, vol. 11 (Amsterdam: Free University Press, 1986) Pp. 121-136

“The Teaching of United States History in British Institutions of Higher Learning," in Lewis Hanke, ed., Guide to the Study of United States History Outside the U.S., 1945-1980, 5 vols. (White Plains, N.Y.: Kraus International for American Historical Association, 1985), II. Pp.305-62

“The Socio-Educational Composition of the CIA Elite: A Statistical Note,” Journal of American Studies, 19 (December, 1985). Pp.421-424.

"American Neo-Conservatism and Foreign Policy," in Rob Kroes, ed., Neo-conservatism: Its Emergence in the USA and Europe, European Contributions to American Studies, vol. 7 (Amsterdam: Free University Press, 1984). Pp.63-80.

"Ethnic and Occupational Influences on American Diplomacy, 1898-1973: Was there a 'Women's Foreign Policy'?" in G. Rystad, ed., Congress and American Foreign Policy, Lund Studies in International History (Stockholm, Oslo, and Copenhagen: Scandinavian Universities Press, 1981). Pp.49-62, 137-38.

"Theories of American Labour Violence," Journal of American Studies, 13 (August, 1979). Pp.233-248.

"Soziale Folgen der Industrialisierung, Imperialismus und der Weltkrieg 1890-1920," in W.P. Adams, ed., Die Vereinigten Staaten (Vol. 30 in Fischer Verlag world history series, Frankfurt am Main, 1977). Pp.235-82.

"W. Somerset Maugham: Anglo-American Agent in Revolutionary Russia," American Quarterly, 28 (Spring, 1976). Pp.90-106.

"Massachusetts Labour and the League of Nations Controversy," Irish Historical Studies, 19 (September, 1975). Pp.90-106.

"George Bernard Shaw and the United States of America," New Edinburgh Review, 29 (April, 1975). Pp. 32-34.

"The Montreal Spy Ring of 1898 and the Origins of 'Domestic' Surveillance in the United States," The Canadian Review of American Studies, 5 (Fall, 1974). Pp.119-34.

"Violence in American History: Plug Uglies in the Progressive Era," Perspectives in American History, 8 (1974). Pp. 465-583.

"Profit over Class: A Study in American Industrial Espionage," Journal of American Studies, 6 (December, 1972). Pp. 233-48.