The FBI : a history

by Jeffreys-Jones, Rhodri.

Format: Print Book 2007
Availability: Available at 1 Library 1 of 1 copy
Available (1)
Location Collection Call #
CLP - Main Library Mezzanine - Non-fiction HV8144.F43 J45 2007
Location  CLP - Main Library
Collection  Mezzanine - Non-fiction
Call Number  HV8144.F43 J45 2007
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.



Published Reviews
Booklist Review: "Atypically for FBI history, this is not structured around directors of the bureau. Jeffreys-Jones, a historian of American intelligence, instead embeds his survey in the political operating room given to a national criminal investigative force. He further roots the FBI, not in its inception in 1908, but in its investigations of the Ku Klux Klan during Reconstruction. Having established his conviction of race's centrality to FBI history, Jeffreys-Jones concisely explains the particular political conflict (a Theodore Roosevelt attack on congressional corruption) in which the Department of Justice acquired its Bureau of Investigation. No sooner born, the new detective agency provoked a liberal reaction against its civil rights violations in the Red Scare of 1919-20, etching a pattern of criticism and reform of FBI excesses that Jeffreys-Jones tracks to the present. The organization's extension into counterintelligence responsibilities also guides Jeffreys-Jones' narrative, arriving at the FBI's less-than-stellar performance on 9/11. Detached from conventions of praise or condemnation toward episodes and directors in FBI history, Jeffreys-Jones reliably recounts the FBI's history in social and bureaucratic contexts.--Taylor, Gilbert Copyright 2007 Booklist"
From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission.
Additional Information
Subjects United States. -- Federal Bureau of Investigation -- History.
Publisher New Haven :Yale University Press,2007
Language English
Description viii, 317 pages ; 24 cm
Bibliography Notes Includes bibliographical references (pages 273-292) and index.
ISBN 0300119143 (alk. paper)
9780300119145 (alk. paper)
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