- Hardcover: 336 pages
- Publisher: Dutton Adult; First Edition edition (February 5, 2009)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0525951016
- ISBN-13: 978-0525951018
- Product Dimensions: 6.3 x 1.2 x 9.3 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
- Average Customer Review: 50 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,011,046 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Blank Spots on the Map: The Dark Geography of the Pentagon's Secret World Hardcover – February 5, 2009
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From School Library Journal
As in his previous books, artist and geographer Paglen (Torture Taxi: On the Trail of the CIA's Rendition Flights) explores the clandestine activities of the U.S. military and the CIA, giving readers a thorough and provocative tour of places that officially do not exist. Paglen has a brisk reporting style and is an engaging storyteller. His journey into what he calls the "black world" of classified locations—from research facilities to secret prisons—this time takes him across the country and around the world. The classified region he describes is shockingly vast, well funded, and not accountable for its activities. At times, Paglen has a subtle touch, allowing the facts he describes gradually to convince the reader of how essentially undemocratic all this secrecy is. Unfortunately, his approach at other times seems unnecessarily theatrical. For example, his description of camping out in a hotel room in Las Vegas to watch planes come and go comes off as a bit gimmicky. Such narrative is likely meant to make the book more readable, but the story Paglen is telling is gripping enough without any stunts. Highly recommended.—Rachel Bridgewater, Reed Coll., OR
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He does a great job of coaxing informative details out of the hidden covert world. (The only complaint I have with this book is that he uses the term "black" so often. I would prefer he used other terms, such as "covert" or "hidden," to break up the repetitiveness.) But, he reasons out a good way to approach what appears to be an insurmountable wall of secrecy and find a way over or around it. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle would be impressed, I think, with Paglen's use of logic.
Also, I admire the way that this author supports the American ideals of openness and accountability to the people of the United States, which the government too often seems to want to ignore, push aside or suppress.
Altogether, I find this an educational and inspirational search for unraveling the truth from the many-layered onion of subterfuge and deception foisted on us, in the alleged interest of "national security."
Bravo, Mr. Paglen! I look forward to purchasing your other works.