Professor Charles is an historian of the United States (broadly speaking) who researches and publishes on the history of the FBI. He has focused on its intersections with gay and lesbian history, political surveillance, British intelligence, obscenity regulation, and American politics and diplomacy. He’s currently writing a history of the FBI pre-1908 to 2018; it is meant to be a synthesis of FBI scholarship plus original research. He is also co-editing an FBI encyclopedia for ABC-CLIO.
A leading historian of the FBI and public scholar, he’s written three books on the Bureau, numerous articles, and has appeared on C-SPAN, NPR’s “All Things Considered” & “On Point,” NY Public Radio’s “The Take Away,” Australian radio’s “Rear Vision,” the History Channel, and in a Yahoo News documentary. He has also given talks across the United States and in Europe. Dr. Charles has been interviewed & referenced in the New York Times (3x), Washington Post, Christian Science Monitor, Le Parisien Magazine, La Croix, de Volksrants (Netherlands), Folha de S. Paulo (Brazil), Business Standard (India), Australian Broadcasting Corp., NBC News, Yahoo News, Time Magazine, and PBS News Hour while contributing multiple OpEd and historical pieces as a public scholar to illuminate popular understanding of contemporary events.
A first generation college student, Professor Charles studied at Penn State, an institution whose historic mission was/is to help educate ordinary Americans. While there, thanks to excellent history faculty, he became enamored with history and, in particular, the FBI’s history. As an undergraduate, Charles wrote & submitted his first academic article on the subject which appeared in The Historian (below; and 20 years[!] later published again in that journal!) He went on to study for an MA in history at Marquette University with the dean of FBI historians Athan Theoharis, where he converted his master’s essay into his 2nd major article in Diplomatic History. He took his PhD at Edinburgh University, researching the FBI’s political surveillance of FDR’s foreign policy critics and its liaison with British intelligence studying under prominent FBI & CIA historian Rhodri Jeffreys-Jones and leading British intelligence historian David Stafford.