Interim Chair of GSW
Professor of History
Kathryn Olmsted studies the cultural and political history of the United States since World War I. Her first book, Challenging the Secret Government: The Post-Watergate Investigations of the CIA and FBI (North Carolina, 1996) examined the congressional and journalistic investigations of the CIA and FBI after Watergate, while her second book, Red Spy Queen: A Biography of Elizabeth Bentley (North Carolina, 2002), analyzed the origins and significance of the spy scare of the 1940s. Her third book, Real Enemies: Conspiracy Theories and American Democracy, World War I to 9/11 (Oxford, 2009), explored the dynamic relationship between real government conspiracies and anti-government conspiracy theories. Her fourth book, Right Out of California: The 1930s and the Big Business Roots of Modern Conservatism (The New Press, 2015), analyzed the conservative reaction to Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal. Her most recent book, The Newspaper Axis: Six Press Barons Who Enabled Hitler, looks at the isolationist media in the US and the UK in the 1930s and 1940s. Professor Olmsted also co-edited a book on the history of the Central Intelligence Agency and published several journal articles and book chapters that highlight her overlapping areas of expertise: conspiracy theories, government secrecy, espionage, counterintelligence, and anticommunism.