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Julian Assange: The Unauthorised Autobiography [Kindle Edition]

Julian Assange
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)

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Book Description

In December 2010, Julian Assange signed a contract with Canongate Books to write a book – part memoir, part manifesto – for publication the following year.
At the time, Julian said: ‘I hope this book will become one of the unifying documents of our generation. In this highly personal work, I explain our global struggle to force a new relationship between the people and their governments.’
In the end, the work was to prove too personal.
Despite sitting for more than fifty hours of taped interviews and spending many late nights at Ellingham Hall (where he was living under house arrest) discussing his life and the work of WikiLeaks with the writer he had enlisted to help him, Julian became increasingly troubled by the thought of publishing an autobiography. After reading the first draft of the book at the end of March, Julian declared: ‘All memoir is prostitution.’
In June 2011, with thirty-eight publishing houses around the world committed to releasing the book, Julian told us he wanted to cancel his contract.
We disagree with Julian’s assessment of the book. We believe it explains both the man and his work, underlining his commitment to the truth. Julian always claimed the book was well written; we agree, and this also encouraged us to make the book available to readers.
And the contract? By the time Julian wanted to cancel the deal he had already used the advance money to settle his legal bills. So the contract still stands. We have decided to honour it – and to publish.
This book is the unauthorised first draft. It is passionate, provocative and opinionated – like its author. It fulfils the promise of the original proposal and we are proud to publish it.
Canongate Books, September 2011

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Product Description


'An extraordinary story, lovely writing and a weirdo hero - what's not to like? An engrossing read.' --INDEPENDENT

`Beautifully textured . . . There is something special about him: a scrappiness, a chippiness, a kind of brilliance. Whatever his doubts, he is well served by this book.' --THE TIMES

'It is not hard to see why the WikiLeaker turned so coy. The book, written from interviews with him, reveals an extraordinary character, both inspiring and deeply flawed, who turns on those who fail to see things his way.'

An intriguing self-portrait . . . Assange reveals a lot about himself . . . Well worth reading ... Although Mr Assange makes an easy target, he has interesting things to say, however controversial. And the world does sometimes need such annoying, single-minded people to move forward. Mr Assange and his creation, WikiLeaks, have made it a more open and transparent place, and hence a bit more just. --Economist

About the Author

Julian Assange is the editor in chief of WikiLeaks. In 2010 he won Time magazine’s Reader's Choice Person of the Year' poll and the Sydney Peace Prize, and was named Le Monde's 'Man of the Year’. He has also been awarded the Amnesty International ‘UK Media Award' and the Sam Adams Award for 'Integrity in Intelligence'. In February 2011, his organisation, WikiLeaks, was nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize after publishing three of the biggest leaks of classified information in history: the Afghan War Diaries, the Iraq War Logs and Cablegate. He is the co-author, with Suelette Dreyfus, of one previous book, Underground: Tales of Hacking, Madness and Obsession from the Electronic Frontier.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 1059 KB
  • Print Length: 353 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0857863843
  • Publisher: Canongate Books (22 Sept. 2011)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Not Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #33,185 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Julian Assange 13 Jun. 2014
By Clare O'Beara TOP 500 REVIEWER
Format:Kindle Edition
This is a good read, showing us how this extraordinary man and body of works, is the sum of the upbringing and interests and choices made throughout his life and before it began.

The publishers state at the outset that the author spoke with a ghost author and made tapes for many hours, before deciding as the book was being prepared, with hefty pre-sales and with his advance cheque paid over by him to his lawyers, that he'd rather not publish an autobiography. That would seem rather late in the day to get modest. Honouring their written contract, the publishers went ahead and produced the book - rightly, I would say.

Assange is Australian, from a free-spirit mother who met his father at a civil rights rally and who married his stepfather a few years later. Both men have played a part in his life though he did not meet his father until he was grown. While the author never seems to have held down a steady job, and lived in squats, he nevertheless was able to study subjects of his choosing including quantum physics at university after a mediocre school result. That has to say something in favour of Australia's opportunities, though he doesn't acknowledge them.

The early years of hacking are the best described as young teens played with basic computers, learning to write code and via a modem, to phone in to early bulletin boards and exchange messages on how to explore with their box of circuits and wires. This became obsessive in some cases and the kids were wandering around inside major firms, government and army systems which were poorly secured at that time.

The later years are more full of personal anger and attacks on major players in the world trouble zones, as well as on supposed colleagues who let the author down at times.
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30 of 37 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars To buy or not to buy? 26 Sept. 2011
Because of the controversial circumstances around the publication, I was in two minds about ordering this book. Having read it, I can say that I made the right decision. Despite its somewhat fragmentary nature, the book contains many beautifully written passages which create a vivid picture of a man on a mission to make the world a better - a more just - place.

Often forthright, occasionally blunt, but tempered with refreshingly self-deprecating humour, the book traces the life and development of Julian Assange (and Wikileaks) up to the Cablegate release. It paints a portrait not of a nihilistic anti-Western fanatic, but of somebody who believes passionately that humans have both a duty and the ability to create positive change in the world. The protagonist doesn't emerge as a flawless character, but many of the misrepresentations rife in media portraits of Assange and his organization are addressed in the book (e.g. Wikileaks' supposed anti-American agenda).

I hope that one day we will be treated to a fully developed (properly spell-checked) version of this book (although I am not holding my breath). If you have any interest in Wikileaks, the book is highly recommended.

*EDIT: I stand by my review and 5-star rating, but as more details of the seemingly underhand tactics involved in the publication process are emerging, I can no longer recommend the book for purchase. I suggest you borrow it from a library.*
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5.0 out of 5 stars Julian Assange 29 Dec. 2012
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Julian Assange of Wikileaks fame, currently sheltering in the Ecuadorian Embassy in London has probably done more than anyone else to penetrate the murky secrets of the governments of the world, and hold them up in the clear light of day to be considered by the general public. Naturally, this has not been appreciated by the powers that be, and he is currently evading a not-very-skilful legal stitchup which is trying to get him extradited to Sweden, following which he will almost undoubtedly be extradited to the USA where anything could happen to him in their draconian penal system, and probably would. A compelling read for anyone who wants to know what is happening in the real world as opposed to the unreal construct delivered to us by the heavily controlled mass media.
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6 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An engrossing and intelligent read 5 Sept. 2012
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
My motivation in reading this book

After Julian's recent balcony appearance, and in particular his reference to his children, I had the immediate thought that I wanted to find out much more about him. I never had Julian Assange down as being a father; I was instantly curious to know about his life and what makes him tick, etc. I went in search of books and ordered three. This is the first of the three that I have read.

Background to the controversial publication of this book

Like all things in Julian Assange's life the publication of this book is controversial. The publishers, Canongate, tell in a note at the beginning of this book that they had entered into a contract with Assange on 20th December 2010 for him to write, via a ghost writer, his life story. He signed this contract just days after the bail money from his supporters came through and he was released from Wandsworth Prison. He was then held under house arrest wearing an electronic tag in Ellingham Hall, Norfolk. On 7th June 2011 Assange told Canongate that he wished to cancel his contract. However, he did not return his advance, having already used it to help pay his legal expenses. Canongate took the view, in light of this, that the contract remained extant and decided to publish the book anyway.

This book then is the first draft of ghost written account of Julian Assange's life, written in the first person and based on fifty hours of interviews of Assange. Assange, we are informed, read this first draft in March 2011 and pronounced that "All memoir is prostitution." However, Canongate advise that he did say that the book was well written. I concur.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
Unfinished, but interesting take on wiki leaks.
Published 10 months ago by meurig Davies
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Published 11 months ago by cindy d'lequez-sage
4.0 out of 5 stars A Voice with a Difference
Well written, engaging. Didactic. He explains difficult things very clearly, he is articulate. His story of his childhood and early youth is terrific.
Published 15 months ago by Magpie
4.0 out of 5 stars fantastic book
This book provides a great insight into the thinking behind wikileaks and how his surroundings growing up affected them. Once you start you can't put it down
Published 15 months ago by Kelly
5.0 out of 5 stars Buy it but donate to wikileaks too
All good authors need a good editor, and its a shame that Assange was not allowed one. Its a good read from one of the people who is struggling to change our world.
Published 19 months ago by Paul Simpson
1.0 out of 5 stars Contract or no contract... this is disgusting ... wont buy it!!!
Contract or no contract, you guys have no right to publish what he did not want published. He can always pay you back the money he owes you - but once this was published, you could... Read more
Published 22 months ago by kasmei
5.0 out of 5 stars It's not about him - It's about YOU!
When it comes to studying history, the problem is not so much that the true stories are not available - rather that they are generally only available to researchers and serious... Read more
Published on 20 Aug. 2013 by Alan Scott
5.0 out of 5 stars A fascinating read!
I very much enjoyed reading this book and have no doubt in my mind that Julian has put his own life in jeopardy in order to expose the lies and corruption that all the world's... Read more
Published on 5 July 2013 by Mags
5.0 out of 5 stars Childhood of Julian Assange
I loved this book and found Julian Assange's account of his childhood extremely interesting.
He is different. His attitude to life is different. Read more
Published on 18 Jan. 2013 by wilson
5.0 out of 5 stars Perfect
Julian's story within the underground world of hacker Is simply revealing and inspiring. We al should look away from traditional prespectives and dig inside every content and never... Read more
Published on 2 Nov. 2012 by alessandra castellani
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