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5.0 out of 5 stars A must read for anyone interested in great stories and the people who make it happen
I read this after watching the movie The Fifith Estate, so I had an idea what to expect. But even so, it was interesting to read this insider's view. Obviously, this is just one account of the events described in the book, and of Julian Assange and Wikileaks - others might describe the same things differently. But my impression is that the authors have gone to much...
Published 23 days ago by Mia

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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Poor book, fantastic material
I give this book a 3 star. 5 out of 5 for content, 1 out of 5 for writing. (1+5)/2 = 3.

With no offence to the authors, it's quite obvious that they are investigative journalists and not writers. How it is possible to produce such a dull, confusing and incoherent book out of a plot that most novelists would give their right arm for is beyond me.

The...
Published 7 months ago by Smaranda Calin


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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Poor book, fantastic material, 3 Dec 2013
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This review is from: WikiLeaks: Inside Julian Assange's War on Secrecy (Paperback)
I give this book a 3 star. 5 out of 5 for content, 1 out of 5 for writing. (1+5)/2 = 3.

With no offence to the authors, it's quite obvious that they are investigative journalists and not writers. How it is possible to produce such a dull, confusing and incoherent book out of a plot that most novelists would give their right arm for is beyond me.

The good:
There's so much travelling around, conspiracies and plot twists in the WikiLeaks story, one could make another Bourne movie out of it. And two sequels. Whether or not you followed the actual events closely at the time, it's still stomach turning to put together all the facts and figures - such as death tolls in Irak and Afghanistan, for instance - that have come to light as a result of the leaks. It's also fascinating to learn about all the effort, risk taking and coordination that went into the publication of this data in mainstream media (The Guardian etc). Mr. Assagne himself seems to be something out of a movie (at least by this account), both likable and dislikable, but sadly not even his profile comes through clearly from the book's tortured pages. To the authors' credit, their work does seem well documented and there is real value in putting together the story behind WikiLeaks. IF you can actually PUT IT TOGETHER, that is :)

The bad:
It's not that the writing fails to shine. It's that it completely works against the story, rendering such a gold mine of novelistic opportunity into a useless pile of disjointed bits and pieces. Many times events are incompletely described or barely mentioned. Other times the repercussions of an event are described before the reader is actually introduced to the event itself. If this is some strange attempt at an impactful narrative technique, the authors not only fail completely, but basically butcher any trace of sense or suspense in the story. Yes, this is non-fiction. But it doesn't have to make you wonder "wait... What?... Who?... Where am I?... What is he talking about again?... Who did what?... Where did I leave them the last chapter?... Why did we switch to this?... Am I missing something?". Honestly, I think the hyphen typo on the very first page is illustrative of the overall quality moving forward. :)

I once heard that some book reviewers from papers and magazines don't even read the books before they write about them. Don't know if it's true, but sure seems like it in this case. How the Observer found it "Superbly narrated" and Metro found it "an adrenalin rush" is, again, beyond me.

Buy it only if directly interested in the topic. Keep your money otherwise.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A must read for anyone interested in great stories and the people who make it happen, 30 Jun 2014
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This review is from: WikiLeaks: Inside Julian Assange's War on Secrecy (Paperback)
I read this after watching the movie The Fifith Estate, so I had an idea what to expect. But even so, it was interesting to read this insider's view. Obviously, this is just one account of the events described in the book, and of Julian Assange and Wikileaks - others might describe the same things differently. But my impression is that the authors have gone to much trouble to try to give as fair an account as possible. And I think they have done well. It's a highly interesting book for anyone who's interested in Wikileaks, Julian Assange, and how his idea has been instrumental in changing how information flows and works, and what you can achieve with it.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A mental Workout, 16 Feb 2014
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I write this as a Brit which could influence my perspective.

It is a very informative book – informative about how our world works, about human life and behaviour and about politics. Some of the key things that I gained from this book are:-

1. My current government seems to ask “how high” when America says jump, while our last government at least tried to say “hold on there a minute.” As we are Britain not America, the latter seems to me to be the sensible approach, as we are an older and hopefully wiser nation. Don’t get me wrong America can be so much more enabling than Britain (eg in self publishing) but we are not America. Equally as the cables make clear America seems to be a little amused at our desire to be “special”. I don’t blame the Americans it makes me smile as well.
2. While this book has therefore had me shaking my head at my current government, it has actually enhanced my respect for America, as it is clear that its State department does do a lot of, what seems to be, sensible, thoughtful, analysis of the world. All major governments probably do that but from what I know, from this book, Americas state department does do it proud.
3. There is a clear “feed the public brown stuff” when it comes to what really happens in war. This “say-do” gap clearly once worked well, but with the increasing number of American whistleblowers this really is becoming untenable. Also as we continue to evolve such “pr” is likely to increasingly do more harm than good. Surely a better solution is to help evolve humanity, reduce war, and find other more profitable activities for the industrial/military complex to dig their teeth into?

Now the negatives:-

1. In some places the book wasn’t as fluid as I would have liked – it didn’t keep my attention glued continually. Though to be fair that is difficult for any book to achieve. And I did enjoy reading it.
2. While the book gave me a clearer understanding of Manning [I can understand his frustration that day he found out that they were seeking to imprison people who were allegedly exposing corruption – but as a serving soldier you must respect the chain of command – it is there for a very good reason], of wikileaks, I am still struggling to get my mind fully around Assange. He is a very interesting character but I still feel as if I don’t know him, as well as I perhaps could. He seems to have a good heart, even if he, like all of us, has made mistakes in life. But yet I still feel that I should understand him better by now. Perhaps I need to knock on the door of the Ecuadorian Embassy in London and ask to chat to him!

Overall, the lesson from this book for me was – you know I don’t really know, so that lost the book one star. I enjoyed reading it, it made me feel sympathy for my government (UK) for the American government, for the Ecuadorian government, and for Manning. Having recently read “The Snowden Files” the material in this book on Snowden didn’t really affect me.

Final thought – Mannings treatment and sentence clearly didn’t stop Snowden, so further fear based management might just incite more whistleblowers from within American intelligence to spill the beans. And now that the public know what the spooks get up to in greater detail, perhaps our intelligence agencies need to take “an evolutionary step up in their game?” [by which I mean, keep within laws, ensure staff feel that the “right thing is being done” and perhaps most importantly divorcing politics from intelligence, while ensuring proper oversight – tricky I give you]. Think about it Manning felt that America was wrong to be aiding the imprisonment of people allegedly trying to fight corruption in their own country and Snowden felt that the Constitution of America was being broken. And therein lies the hub of the wikileaks issue – and also the solution to it. I can only hope that America chooses to step positively forwards and inspire as opposed to fear based retrenchment.
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WikiLeaks: Inside Julian Assange's War on Secrecy
WikiLeaks: Inside Julian Assange's War on Secrecy by Luke Harding (Paperback - 3 Oct 2013)
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