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The Snowden Files: The Inside Story of the World's Most Wanted Man Paperback – 6 Feb 2014


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Product details

  • Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Guardian Faber Publishing; Main edition (6 Feb. 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1783350350
  • ISBN-13: 978-1783350353
  • Product Dimensions: 13.5 x 2.6 x 21.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (61 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 206,256 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

Review

The saga of Edward J. Snowden, the man whose leaked documents revealed the Orwellian dimensions of the National Security Agency, reads like a le Carré novel crossed with something by Kafka - at least it does in Luke Harding's new book, The Snowden Files ... But the book still gives readers, who have not been following the Snowden story closely, a succinct overview of the momentous events of the past year. And if it leans toward dramatizing everything in thrillerlike terms, the book also manages to leave readers with an acute understanding of the serious issues involved: the N.S.A.'s surveillance activities and voluminous collection of data, and the consequences that this sifting of bigger and bigger haystacks for tiny needles has had on the public and its right to privacy. (Michiko Kakutani New York Times)

Luke Harding's breathless page-turner ... reads more like a spy thriller than a piece of dry political analysis ... this is a riveting read and it unravels the mystery better than anything that's been published so far. (David Runciman The Guardian)

The Snowden Files - as the iPhone episode suggests - is a super-readable, thrillerish account of the events surrounding the reporting of the documents, with a few interludes sketching out what some of the stories have revealed ... Harding has done an amazing - and speedy - job of assembling material from a wide variety of sources and turning it into an exciting account. (Daniel Soar London Review of Books)

'Harding's account of how the leaks came to be published is thrilling, full of intrigue, last-minute flights, secret meetings and heroic hacks and editors ... it is a vital account of the story of the decade and the issue of our age: when our lives are lived on wires, how safe are we from those who would use our private information against us, whether criminals, foreign agents or our own governments? (Padraig Ready The Irish Times)

Without one man's courage and a life-altering decision, millions would never know about this most secret abuse of power by the intelligence agencies. This is the story of our age, brilliantly told. (Henry Porter)

Book Description

In The Snowden Files, Luke Harding tells the story of Edward Snowden and the individuals behind the biggest leak in history.

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Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By tychos on 16 Mar. 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I bought two books on the Snowden affair to try and get different angles on the story. This one is very much pro-Snowden and anti-NSA/GCHQ while the other (by Edward Lucas) is really quite the opposite.

This was a well written account which raises many questions about the tapping activities of the UK and US governments and gives an insight into why Snowden leaked information and how the leak developed. I think it's probably a fair portrait of Snowden and I agree that the spectacle of GCHQ 'technicians' overseeing the destruction of Guardian laptops was disturbingly Orwellian (not to mention extremely stupid, since the horse had clearly bolted in multiple directions by then). What it doesn't do is address whether Snowden had any other agendas. Given the world of shadows and double dealing from which he came this is still a fair question.
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19 of 21 people found the following review helpful By Brian R. Martin TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 5 Feb. 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Whatever one thinks about Edward Snowden, whether he is a traitor who deserves a very long term of imprisonment, or whether he is a hero who has sacrificed his future to expose an Orwellian world of unauthorized surveillance and law breaking, one cannot deny the the importance of the devastating revelations in this well-written, riveting book.

It starts by describing Snowden's development as a young man. Surprisingly, he has little formal education, not even a high school diploma, the very minimum passport in America for a reasonable job, but has obvious intelligence and an early keen interest in, and ability with, computers. He first surfaced as a prolific contributor to online forums. At this stage he was politically a conservative, with a strong belief in the sanctity of the American constitution, something he had been taught by his father. He was a patriot who wanted to serve his country in the military, but his short stint in the US army was a disaster, when he broke both his legs and was discharged.

Somehow, despite his lack of qualifications, he manage to get a job as an IT specialist in a small outfit that was a covert facility for NSA (National Security Agency) and from there he moved on to work for the State Department in Europe and began to have access to classified information. His internet posts at this time show that he was strongly opposed to leaking any secret information, regarding it as a despicable act, but by the time he had finished a period in Geneva working with CIA officers he began to experience a `crisis of confidence', and became increasingly disillusioned at his government's activities. He resigned from the CIA and became a contractor in a NSA facility at a military base in Japan.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By J. Mero on 19 July 2014
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One of today's Must Reads! Fascinating to see Snowden's courage and cleverness in bringing out the US and UK governments' illegal activities!
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Reverend Peter Doodes on 20 Mar. 2014
Format: Paperback
No review could do justice to this book, it is quite simply a must read as you will, as I was, be shocked at the facts disclosed.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Paul on 28 Dec. 2014
Format: Paperback
This book is a must read for anyone concerned with their individual liberties and personal privacy. One of Snowden's aims was to start a wide public debate on the issue of government surveillance, this still has not properly happened yet.

This book is incredibly easy to read and I'd especially recommend it to those who don't think they care about 'politics'. You'll surprise yourself.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Georgina Burnside on 28 Feb. 2014
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Awsome very informative a real eye opener although it makes you wonder if NSA and GCHQ know you've bought it!
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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful By R James on 27 Mar. 2014
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Books about the internet and hackers are mostly really boring and badly written so its a pleasure to find one with a gripping narrative but also plenty of detail, at least for the non-geek.
If you want to know about how easily the government, police and a raft of other agencies can access all your online data then this is a great account.
Snowden has been criminalised by the US and no doubt he did break the law - but so were the US and UK governments by ripping off all our data.
By exposing what the US govt was doing and making them regulate it, he's done that country - and the UK - a huge favour, and reminded us what makes us different from, and better than, states like Russia and China.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Craig Campbell on 25 Mar. 2014
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Like Luke Harding's book on his Russian experience, I couldn't put this one down.
Everyone in Britain, and much farther afield, ought to read this - and keep it handy to read again and hand on to the next generation.
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