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No Place to Hide: Edward Snowden, the NSA, and the U.S. Surveillance State Hardcover – May 13, 2014
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"Rebound" by Kwame Alexander
Don't miss best-selling author Kwame Alexander's "Rebound," a new companion novel to his Newbery Award-winner, "The Crossover,"" illustrated with striking graphic novel panels. Pre-order today
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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
“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
“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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Greenwald once harshly criticized Bill Keller and the New York Times for holding off on publishing a story on President Bush's warrant-less wiretapping program for a year. He cites this as a prime example of establishment media subservience. And yet with this book, Greenwald commits the same deplorable act: withholding vital information from the public for nearly a year for his own selfish gain. Please don't support Greenwald's profiteering from the Snowden leaks by purchasing this book.
Indeed, Greenwald has quite adeptly risen in wealth and prestige in the last several months, all thanks to Snowden giving him sole custody of public documents detailing crimes against the global public, which Glenn happily treated as his intellectual property, instead of information the public had a right to know. He has now received funding from one of the richest men in the world, and the ink had barely dried on their contract before Glenn was busily lying for and whitewashing his crony billionaire funder's past, including Omidyar's culpability in the financial stranglehold of Wikileaks.
When Greenwald tells the story of Snowden, there's a critical part he leaves out. From the first video interview where Snowden's identity is revealed, Snowden compared himself to Chelsea Manning (the Cablegate whistle-blower) is a dishonest way that cast an unfavorable view on Manning. Rather than repudiate this, Greenwald repeatedly engaged in similar dishonest comparisons at Manning's expense - all at the critical time when Manning was in trial and facing decades in prison. Since the initial comments, Greenwlad has also dishonestly and unfavorably compared the tactics of Snowden/Greenwald to Manning/Wikileaks. Of course, this goes unmentioned in the book as Greenwald is too busy placing Snowden on the highest pedestal possible, while Chelsea Manning sits in a prison cell.
The bottom line is that Greenwald's priority since he first received the leaks has been to profit off of them and raise his own status. Helping activists combat the spying practices of the NSA, using the leaks to damage the entire surveillance state establishment, protecting Chelsea Manning at a very vulnerable moment - nah, there's no time for these subtleties in Glenn's mind. After all, one doesn't win Polk Awards and Pulitzer Prizes, get fabulously wealthy, get interviews on the Today show, and get funding to start a new media enterprise by actually threatening the surveillance state, now do they?
Ask yourself, do you really need to buy Glenn's book so he can tell you things you already know/suspect, and thus further enable his profiteering from the leaks and reward his deplorable behavior?
It seems that some customers feel that I am disparaging Mr. Greenwald personally (and by extension, Mr. Snowden), or merely nitpicking about inconsequential editorial/publishing preferences. This update addresses those considerations. There's quite a list of characteristics of a finished book product which can be seen as more a matter of customer preference than utility and reasonable expectation based on standard industry practice. I think most reasonable customers will agree that an index and end notes, specific to each chapter, or the work as a whole, for a work of non-fiction, do not fall into that category.
The index and notes are not trivial items to a work of expository non-fiction. Their importance and utility to such a work need not be debated at this point, except with the extremely contrarian, contentious, or naive. Undoubtedly, as a seasoned journalist, author, scholar, and attorney, Mr. Greenwald understands this and I would wager that this odd method of distributing the index and notes to his book was not his design, but rather that of an editor or other employee of Mr. Greenwald's contracted publisher. In effect, Mr. Greenwald's publisher has decided to separate the author's work into parts and decided to break with long-standing tradition and customer expectations about what will be included in the cover price (MSRP, full-retail, or however you want to phrase it) of this sort of book.
The publisher gives no explanation for this, as I stated previously, and I can't think of any justification for not including these items except that it might move the cost of printing them from the publisher to the customer. These additional costs, while insignificant to many users, have an impact that weighs disproportionately on disenfranchised readers and those with fewer resources. This segment would likely include other dissidents acting on their conscientious objections, who have been imprisoned, possibly including Chelsea Manning. I presume that Ms. Manning would be interested in reading Mr. Greenwald's work on this subject, including chapter notes, with the benefit of an index. I also presume that Ms. Manning has restricted/limited access to the resources required to view/print the PDFs making their access difficult and inconvenient, if not impossible. Conversely, it is relatively easy to ship books to US prisoners so long as the shipments originate from an licensed book-selling retailer. Of course, Ms. Manning is a high-profile prisoner who might have additional support not afforded other prisoners. The point is that the majority of prisoners and other disenfranchised members of our society have additional, non-trivial obstacles placed on the use of these parts of what would normally be included in "the book product" because of the publisher's decision to break with long-standing tradition and distribute them discretely on a website. I presume that Mr. Greenwald, a former civil rights lawyer, did not envision, and does not support, such additional barriers to access/use of his work for a disenfranchised segment of his audience. As an author, I presume that he wants his readers to derive as much utility from his book as possible, with the least inconvenience, once they have paid for the product.
Aside from assigning this cost to the customer, this editorial choice creates a non-trivial inconvenience for the customer wishing to use the index/notes with the printed book in the customary manner. What reasonable choice do they have to achieve this but to print the pages, fold them up and try to fit them in the back cover of the book? Even if one were to accept such an odd, kludgey, arrangement, it wouldn't be easy. The index and notes are 31 pages of 8.5 x 11 paper (printing double-sided gets this down to 16 pages). A customer with the right printer and knowledge might be able to reduce the size even further to, perhaps, 8 pages. This eight-page document would then have to be folded over (making it, again, 16 pages, the size of those in the book) and kept in the back of the book and removed for reference at the required time.
Finally, there seems to be an inherent contradiction between this distribution strategy and the sensibilities of a segment of the population that might be most drawn to Mr. Greenwald's latest work: people who greatly value their privacy and are worried about their government's ability to monitor them when they use modern communication devices and the infrastructure that supports them. Mr. Greenwald opposes illegal government surveillance. In particular, he discusses in this book, such which is enabled by modern technology used by a secretive government organization with little accountability or oversight. Although he is certainly not advocating that people abandon the conveniences of modern life in order to avoid this surveillance, it seems odd that his publisher would force all but the most technologically savvy customers to abdicate whatever anonymity they might have had by purchasing this book with cash at a bookstore by requiring them to download the index and notes from a public website if they want to use these parts of "the book." Even if the government isn't monitoring such downloads, whoever controls the website most likely is doing so. It is unclear whether the website is owned by Mr. Greenwald, his publisher, or a third party. If the primary motivation for distributing the index/notes in this fashion was to collect customer data, one has to wonder what such data will be used for. Certainly, these particular privacy concerns aren't as relevant to Amazon customers, or public library patrons, like me, but it seems like an unreasonable imposition, created without explanation by the publisher, for those readers most concerned with their privacy.
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However, it not very critical of what Edward Snowden did.Read more