A Question of Standing:: The History of the CIA, 1947-2022
Rhodri Jeffreys-Jones

A Question of Standing:: The History of the CIA, 1947-2022

In September 2022 the United States will commemorate CIA’s 75th birthday. The proposed book will be a thoughtful and balanced counterpoint to the celebratory and hostile accounts we can expect to appear. It advances a central thesis, that the Agency’s original and continuing purpose was not just the delivery of intelligence, but also its delivery in a manner that commanded attention. To achieve that goal, the CIA had to be in good standing. It is never helpful to convey the truth, if nobody respects you enough to listen. Without standing, the CIA cannot influence, and loses its raison d’être. The book will expound that theme by applying unmatched expertise to a narrative of events ranging from the empowerment of the Shah of Iran in 1953 to the overthrow of Soviet communism in the 1980s, and the more recent killing of Osama bin Laden.

Some features:

• long enough to embrace the main events in the CIA’s history, but short enough to be read in its entirety, and not acquired just for the coffee table


• supersedes the “official” view that the Agency was the product of World War II and of British tuition


• advantages and disadvantages of the decline of Ivy League leadership in the aftermath of the Bay of Pigs (1961)


• unique dissection of the CIA’s findings on the escalation of American participation in the Vietnam War


• tricks of the trade, ranging from buying up all the printing ink in France to arranging reverse assassinations of one’s own confederates in Nicaragua


• profiles of CIA whistleblowers from Philip Agee to Edward Snowden


• CIA’s role in Reagan’s successful bid to end European communism and with it the Cold War


• 9/11 as a false stimulant of intelligence reform


• the shift from rendition to homicide and the declining reputation of the CIA


• President Donald Trump’s disregard and then discovery of the CIA


Book Details:

  • Author: Rhodri Jeffreys-Jones
  • Published Year: 2022
  • Rights Sold
    • UK: OUP
    • US: OUP
    • Turkey: Kronik Yayincilik
Rhodri Jeffreys-Jones

Rhodri Jeffreys-Jones

Rhodri Jeffreys-Jones was born in Wales and received his higher education in Aberystwyth (BA, Alun Lewis Memorial Prize), Michigan, Harvard and Cambridge (PhD). He held post doctoral fellowships at Harvard, Free University Berlin and Toronto. Founder and now honorary president of the Scottish Association for the Study of America, he is emeritus professor of history at the University of Edinburgh. His books have appeared in several languages. They include In Spies We Trust: The Story of Western Intelligence (OUP, 2013) and The American Left: Its Impact on Politics and Society since 1900 (Edi...
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Book Reviews

  • "Rhodri Jeffreys-Jones, a leading authority on US intelligence, has crafted an excellent history of the CIA – erudite but fluent and accessible. It engages with important issues of interpretation while at the same time driving forward a compelling narrative of events. It is concise yet wide-ranging, tracing the history of US intelligence from its beginnings to the Biden presidency. … A commendable aspect of this book is its even-handed tone. It would be too easy for a write to portray the CIA as a wholly nefarious force – toppling governments, planning assassinations – that fuels anti-Americanism throughout much of the world, But Jeffreys-Jones also makes clear the constructive role often plated by the CIA is assisting presidents in shaping US foreign policy. The result is a perspective that is both balanced and compelling."
    BBC History Magazine
  • "brings a depth of knowledge that provides innumerable fascinating anecdotes."
  • "terrific new history of the CIA . . .The book is the best kind of constructively critical history, told with a refreshingly wry and dry sense of humour."
    Australian Book Review,
  • "an excellent history of the CIA – erudite but fluent and accessible."
    BBC History Magazine
  • "well researched publication."
    One of Martin Chilton’s Six Best Books to Read in August, Independent
  • "an excellent primer on the history of the CIA."
    Jamie Gaskarth, professor of international relations at the Open University and author, inter alia, of Secrets and Spies: Intelligence Accountability after Iraq and Snowden