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No Place to Hide: Edward Snowden, the NSA, and the U.S. Surveillance State Hardcover – May 13, 2014

4.5 out of 5 stars 838 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

An Amazon Best Book of the Month, May 2014: In May of 2013, Edward Snowden, a young systems administrator contracting for the National Security Agency, fled the United States for Hong Kong, carrying with him thousands of classified documents outlining the staggering capabilities of the NSA.’s surveillance programs--including those designed to collect information within the U.S. There Snowden arranged a meeting with Guardian columnist Glenn Greenwald, and so began the most explosive leak of classified material since the Pentagon Papers, over 40 years ago. No Place to Hide opens with Greenwald’s tense account of his initial cloak-and-dagger encounters with Snowden, then transitions into descriptions of the NSA’s vast information-collection apparatus, including a selection of the “Snowden files” with commentary on the alphabet soup of agencies and code names. And--in typical Greenwald style--the book is packed with his opinions on government snooping, its legality, and the impacts on our Constitutional freedoms. Whether you consider Snowden a whistleblower crying foul on government overreach, or a self-aggrandizing traitor who put national security at risk, Greenwald’s book is thrilling and enlightening, a bellwether moment in a crucial debate. --Jon Foro

Review

“Impassioned . . . gripping . . . Greenwald amplifies our understanding of the N.S.A.'s sweeping ambitions . . . and delivers a fierce argument in defense of the right of privacy.” ―Michiko Kakutani, The New York Times

“Rings with authority . . . vital for anyone interested in civil liberties . . . this book is an antidote to the common public perception that government spooks are only interested in ‘bad' people.” ―Chicago Tribune

“Incisive, slashing . . . Greenwald's pugilistic skills are on full display . . . If you want to get a handle on what was at stake when Snowden downloaded the government's most precious secrets onto a thumb drive, this book is your primer.” ―Slate

“Provides an excellent overview of the NSA's still-classified activities and lack of legal controls, putting the pieces together in a way that daily journalism cannot.” ―The Economist

“A vital discussion on Snowden's revelations.” ―Los Angeles Times

“Reads like a thriller . . . With heart-pounding suspense, John le Carre-like intrigue and Jeffersonian fidelity to the principles of human freedom . . . No Place to Hide is also a morality tale about the personal courage required of Snowden and Greenwald and his colleagues to expose government wrongdoing and the risk to their lives, liberties and properties in doing so.” ―Judge Andrew P. Napolitano, FOX News

“Shocking . . . It is hard to argue with Greenwald's contention that ‘the NSA is the definitive rogue agency.'” ―The Christian Science Monitor

“A fascinating read that adds much to the debate on national security and privacy.” ―Los Angeles Review of Books

“Pulse-pounding.” ―Wired

“A smart, impassioned indictment of what Greenwald calls ‘fear-driven, obsequious journalism.'” ―San Francisco Chronicle

“A compelling narrative that puts the most explosive revelations about official criminality into vital context . . . The book ends with a beautiful, barn-burning coda in which Greenwald sets out his case for a society free from surveillance. It reads like the transcript of a particularly memorable speech--an ‘I have a dream' speech; a ‘Blood, sweat, toil and tears' speech. . . . It's a speech I hope to hear Greenwald deliver himself someday.” ―Cory Doctorow, Boing Boing

“Eloquent . . . powerful . . . Greenwald makes a persuasive case that this is a battle that has engulfed us all, and one that has not yet ended” ―VICE

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Metropolitan Books (May 13, 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 162779073X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1627790734
  • Product Dimensions: 6.3 x 0.9 x 9.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (838 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #33,138 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
It is 4 AM and I have just finished reading, in one sitting, the Kindle download of a book that I only intended to skim because I thought that I knew the full story. What was compelling was encountering the courage and decency of this whistleblower and that of the few brave journalists willing to honestly tell his story. That and the justifiable contempt for those in the housebroken media and compromised government who felt the need to besmirch the character of those willing to bear witness to crimes that almost everyone else in a position to know chose to ignore. The result is a page turner survey of just what the Snowden leaks tell us about the creation of the modern surveillance state and a reminder of the deep wisdom of this nation's founders in insisting on the Constitution's Fourth Amendment. This is a brilliant book that you will want to pass on to that neighbor absolutely convinced that the hollowing out of liberty has made us safer. Glenn Greenwald reminds us just why the Guardian and Washington Post won the Pulitzer Prize for Public Service in publishing the documents that Edward Snowden made available and how outrageous it is that his effort to inform the public of attacks on their freedom has left this brave young man a hunted fugitive.
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A brief note before you purchase this book:
This is not a book written for the purpose of telling you the US government is watching your every step and every move, everyone knows that. And the author did not waste time replicating news articles you've already read through the media outlets. I finished this book within 5 hours, and thought it was well written and well worth your time.

Greenwald, one of the original journalists who revealed Snowden's leaks last year, did a remarkably good job on going over the history of U.S.'s surveillance tactics. In his new book, No Place to Hide, Greenwald briefly goes over his adventures/experience on meeting with Edward Snowden and revealing US's NSA surveillance program. Greenwald explains the difficulties and obstacles that were involved before the story went live, mostly by reluctant lawyers, and news agencies such as NYT and Washington Post. For those curious, Greenwald also explains in detail the true intentions of Edward Snowden.

Later chapters of the book reveal Greenwald's opinion on the recent NSA leaks, and his classification of US as a surveillance state.

Keep in mind that Greenwald was previously a columnist, and his writing style of a columnist is clearly seen throughout the book. This is not merely a book with facts, but a book with opinion, with logical and concrete evidence that not just the U.S., but other state actors are well, are progressing into what George Orwell wrote in his infamous 1984 novel (Orwellian state).

Greenwald ends the book by warning the consequences involved as we progress into the Orwellian state and the issue of journalists not being journalists, but being government puppets instead.

This is a highly recommended book for those who wish to read into detail one of the biggest government leaks in the history.
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No Place to Hide is about a dangerous idea -- the right to be let alone. It's not a puff piece meant to rouse one side or another. It's a nuanced story about how the Snowden files went down and why it matters. The book doesn't fatten the pages or waste time. It's factual. It's well-written and well-edited. It's a satisfying read.

No Place to Hide is about journalists, editors, lovers, a filmmaker, a whistle-blower, and the world's most influential newspapers, and television corporations. It is about a group of people who were cursed to live in interesting times, who were faced with decisions few of us will ever make. They had to learn to trust each other. It's a book about a group of people who were courageous enough to defend "the right to be left alone . . . the right most valued by a free people."

Greenwald tells a fascinating story about how each person put their professional careers and their personal freedom on the line, and in the case of Edward Snowden, his life on the line to expose documents to the entire world, so we can all decide what is true and what is not.

Greenwald's book includes high intrigue and an exotic locale, Hong Kong. It could be compared to an international thriller, and it is all that but it is more. It's like reading history as it happens, as it is lived, and that is thrilling.
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I've been following the Edward Snowden saga since it started, and following NSA, the IC, and the national security state since the early 1990s. I had to read this book, as Glenn Greenwald had a critical role in bringing Snowden's materials to the public, and I wanted to see if he had anything new to say.

In one way, the book is very good. If you aren't terribly familiar with the situation, he provides a decent overview, and some new slides which illustrate what NSA has been doing (particularly since 9/11) and why it's bad. A particularly strong area is explaining why the "terrorism" justification is only a pretext, and the true purpose of domestic surveillance is controlling political and cultural rivals.

However, if you're completely familiar with everything published to date, there really isn't much new in this book. The only new material, aside from yet more slides about classified programs, is a bit more detail into how the pre-publication review process worked (or didn't work), and some inside baseball about the media itself. This is interesting, but ultimately not compelling. It's a pretty short book, too.

If you are deeply interested in the media and its handling of the national security state, or just want to read everything possible on the topic, sure, this is a good enough book.

If you are a general interest person who just wants an overview of the Snowden situation and its import, I would recommend the PBS Frontline "United States of Secrets", which is an excellent overview with much stronger interviews with Thomas Drake, William Binney, etc. than I'd seen in the media before.
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