British Association for American Studies


Dafydd Townley

Dafydd Townley is a Graduate Teaching Assistant and PhD student in the University of Reading’s History Department. His doctoral thesis ‘Spies, Civil Liberties, and the Senate: The 1975 Church Committee’ investigates the conflict of maintaining national security while observing civil liberties in the United States. His interest include the United States Intelligence Committee and modern US political and social history.

Application Advice: Gerald Ford Presidential Foundation

This month I am visiting the United States for eighteen days to conduct primary source research central to my PhD thesis, ‘Spies, civil liberties and the Senate: the 1975 Church Committee’. It is the first time I have been to the US, and it is mainly due to the award I received from the Gerald Ford Presidential Foundation that I am able to spend such a significant amount of time there.

Book Review: This Nonviolent Stuff’ll Get You Killed: How Guns Made the Civil Rights Movement Possible by Charles E. Cobb

In an interview with Dr Kenneth Clark in 1963 Malcolm X said that Martin Luther King Jr was ‘subsidised by the white man’ into making the Afro-American population of the United States ‘defenceless in the face of one of the most cruel beasts in American history. That’s this American white man.’ Malcolm’s assessment of the weakness of the civil rights movement was shared by other critics including WEB DuBois, however Charles E Cobb Jr’s work attempts to illustrate that such accusations were without foundation and incorrect.

Book Review: Political Polarization in American Politics edited by Daniel J Hopkins and John Sides

The polarization of American politics is often seen as a damning indictment of a political system which concerns two political parties for the majority of the time. Polarization is announced as a modern day symptom that has ‘impeded negotiation, compromise, and good governance.’(11) It is a view shared by both those individuals within the political theatre and also observers of American government.

Book Review: State of Recovery: The Quest to Restore American Security after 9/11 by Barry Scott Zellen

The terrorist attack on the World Trade Centre on September 11th 2001 was a watershed moment in national security in the United States. For the first time since Pearl Harbour, US homeland defences had been penetrated by enemy combatants and casualties had been suffered.

Book Review: Kennedy: A Cultural History of an American Icon by Mark White

The theme of the duality of Kennedy’s image is illustrated most effectively by two seemingly contradictory elements. The conflicting depiction of Kennedy as both a sex symbol and a family man is thoroughly examined by White.