The FBI A History Rhodri Jeffreys-Jones
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- Publication date:
- 01 Nov 2007
- 604 pages: 254 x 178 x 30mm
- black & white illustrations
This fast-paced history of the FBI presents the first balanced and complete portrait of the vast, powerful, and sometimes bitterly criticized American institution. Rhodri Jeffreys-Jones, a well-known expert on U.S. intelligence agencies, tells the bureau's story in the context of American history. Along the way he challenges conventional understandings of that story and assesses the FBI's strengths and weaknesses as an institution.
Common wisdom traces the origin of the bureau to 1908, but Jeffreys-Jones locates its true beginnings in the 1870s, when Congress acted in response to the Ku Klux Klan campaign of terror against black American voters. The character and significance of the FBI derive from this original mission, the author contends, and he traces the evolution of the mission into the twenty-first century.
The book makes a number of surprising observations: that the role of J. Edgar Hoover has been exaggerated and the importance of attorneys general underestimated, that splitting counterintelligence between the FBI and the CIA in 1947 was a mistake, and that xenophobia impaired the bureau's preemptive anti-terrorist powers before and after 9/11. The author concludes with a fresh consideration of today's FBI and the increasingly controversial nature of its responsibilities.
"This new book on the FBI by Rhodri Jeffreys-Jones takes its place proudly on the small shelf of outstanding studies of America''s top agency for domestic law enforcement, counterintelligence, and counterterrorism. With this insightful, lucidly written, and exhaustively researched examination of the Bureau, Professor Jeffreys-Jones has managed to match his highly regarded earlier books on the Central Intelligence Agency."--Loch Johnson, author of "Seven Sins of American Foreign Policy"