Eden received her Ph.D. in sociology from the University of Michigan, and has held fellowships at the Center for Science and International Affairs at Harvard University, the Center for International Studies at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and the Center for International Security and Arms Control at Stanford University. She taught in the Department of History at Carnegie Mellon University. Eden has written two books on life in small-town America. Her undergraduate honors thesis was published as CRISIS IN WATERTOWN (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 1972) and was nominated for a National Book Award in 1973. WITNESS IN PHILADELPHIA, with Florence Mars (Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 1977), is about the reaction of the town of Philadelphia, Mississippi to the murders of civil-rights workers Schwerner, Chaney, and Goodman in the summer of 1964. It was a Book of the Month Club Alternate Selection.
In the area of international security, Eden has focused on U.S. foreign and military policy, arms control, organizational issues, and the social construction of science and technology. She co-edited, with Steven E. Miller, NUCLEAR ARGUMENTS: UNDERSTANDING THE STRATEGIC NUCLEAR ARMS AND ARMS CONTROL DEBATES (Ithaca, N.Y.: Cornell University Press, 1989) and is an editor of THE OXFORD COMPANION TO MILITARY HISTORY (Oxford University Press, 2000), which takes a social and cultural perspective on war and peace in U.S. history. The volume was chosen as a Main Selection of the History Book Club.