Philip H. Melanson

Philip H. Melanson was chancellor professor of Political Science at the University of Massachusetts--Dartmouth. He served as coordinator of the Robert F. Kennedy Assassination Archive (the world’s largest collection on the assassination) as well as serving as chair of the Political Science Department for twelve years. He wrote thirteen books and was an internationally recognized expert on political violence and government secrecy. His books, including The Secret Service: The Hidden History of an Enigmatic Agency (Carroll & Graf), Secrecy Wars (Potomac Books), and Shadow Play: The Untold Story of the Robert F. Kennedy Assassination (St. Martin’s), relate to political assassination and violence, governmental secrecy and law enforcement and intelligence agencies. His media appearances included NPR, BBC, CBS, and CNN news programs.

Published in Authors

Secrecy Wars: National Security, Privacy and the Public's Right to Know

by Philip H. Melanson

The public and the media are fascinated by U.S. government secrets, real and imagined, yet very few people know how the process of obtaining formerly secret documents works. Secrecy Wars is a look inside the American secrecy system as it is accessed through the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) and the Privacy Act. With its perspective that of a political legal drama, this important new book will not only entertain and inform but also influence the legal, journalism, and political communities.

Published in Current Events

The Secret Service: The Hidden History of an Enigmatic Agency

by Philip H. Melanson

This new edition of the definitive history of the Secret Service lays bare the 2004 Bush campaign’s political uses of the agency and the new challenges it faces as a branch of the Homeland Security Department, in a post-9/11 world. Acclaimed scholar of political violence and governmental secrecy Philip Melanson explores the long-hidden workings of the Secret Service since its inception in 1865 and through rigorous research and extensive interviews with former White House staffers and retired agents, uncovers startling facts about the Agency’s role in such traumatic national events as the assassination of JFK and the shooting of President Reagan. Included, too, are revelations about presidential demands on the agency; the problems of alcoholism, divorce, and burnout among agents; and the Service’s inexplicable failure to develop profiles of potential assassins. Up-to-date and explosive, this book assails the public image of the Secret Service as a highly professional apolitical organization, exposing the often-detrimental influence that politics exerts on the Agency.

Published in History