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5.0 out of 5 stars Julian Assange
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...
Published 10 months ago by Clare O'Beara

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11 of 20 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Breach of trust--and copyright
Can there really be any such thing as an "Unauthorised Autobiography"?! The title is a blatant admission of the breach of trust that got this book into print. If you care anything at all about the rights of an author LEAVE IT ALONE! The only reason the publisher isn't being sued is because no lawyer would take the case without assurances from Assange that he had the...
Published on 20 Jan. 2012 by K. M. Brooke


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5.0 out of 5 stars Julian Assange, 13 Jun. 2014
By 
Clare O'Beara - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Julian Assange: The Unauthorised Autobiography (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. I could not see why he did not understand the established media point - they were journalists and he came along with a couple of fellow hackers, claiming to be journalists too. Had he worked for any media outlet? Joined a journalists' union? Gained a journalism degree at college? No, he'd studied quantum physics when he got out of his sentence for cyber crimes. So they treated him as a source, and perhaps a loose cannon at that, rather than as a reporter or publisher.

As to the alleged sexual misconduct charges facing Assange, having read his account, it seems to me that there was considerable stupidity on both sides of the story, but no charges that I would expect to stick. The man was daft enough to sleep with two different newly-met women over the course of a few weeks after he'd been warned that the US would attempt to smear him and that a honey trap (attractive female) could be likely. The women were daft enough, so it seems, to sleep with this globe-trotter without insisting on protection. They may then have been used by manipulative forces. I think any sensible female or male judge would throw the matter out of court. However, given that governments, banks and many other major interests think the man and his team have released too many embarrassing documents, he is probably safer in the Ecuadorian embassy.

I noticed two spelling errors in the body of the book and several in the examples of leaked documents. This may be because WikiLeaks has been so rushed in preparing the vast volume of releases, or it may be because not all their staff are English-speakers.

Certainly it has to be said that these leaks paved the way for a British newspaper to release the scandalous expenses and house-flipping claimed by British MPs, most of it their technical but not moral entitlement. Though that didn't go via Assange, he'd shown that it could be done and that the public wanted to see such issues coming to light about their governments. What comes of the WikiLeaks releases may be still in the making. The clock cannot be put back, though some wish it could and want to live in the cosy, secretive past. Leaks on web platforms are here to stay. For that, the world will eventually thank this man, who seems to have no personal ambition of his own but may have matured further in the past couple of years.
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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
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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
By 
Sally Walker (Eastbourne, UK) - See all my reviews
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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. May be by June 2011 and with no end in sight to his possible extradition to Sweden to answer charges of two cases of sexual assault, Assange had been legally advised that it would be unwise for him to endorse this book. My speculation on this point is based on the fact that there are several pages towards the end of the book, which give Assange's side of events regarding the two Swedish women who have alleged that he sexually assaulted them.

Did the book satisfy my objective in reading it? YES

So did this book fulfill my requirement to learn what makes this man tick? Yes, it has. I found it an engrossing and an intelligent read, which I hope is a true representation of Assange's thoughts and `inner workings' as told during the copious interviews he gave. Whether it is or not we will not know until when, or if, Assange produces his own self-written autobiography. I am hoping that the un-subtle and implied, not overt comparison of Assange to Christ being betrayed by the twelve good men of the Guardian and the New York Times is not something that Assange himself would have written.

Brief resume of Assange's background

The key to Assange lies firstly and predominantly in his childhood, much lived until the age of sixteen, on the run across the length and breadth of Australia fleeing from the clutches of his mother's former unhinged lover. At sixteen Assange confronted his mother's pursuer which brought an end to their peripatetic lifestyle. Crucially at the time when he and his mother and step brother put down roots in one place Assange saw his first computer in a shop. The rest, as they say is history. As an adult Assange has led an often nomadic life living out of a rucksack, hopping from one country to another. His mother and step-father, from whom he takes his name, were small time activists in 1970s Australia and this laid seeds within Assange of seeking fairness and distinquishing right from wrong and exposing the bad guys.

Brief discussion regarding Assange's long-term legacy.

If you like Assange is the modern day Robin Hood, not redistributing money, (for which he has no interest) but information, keeping the world's public informed of what their governments and military forces are really getting up to. There is no doubt about it that there have been significant ramifications of all of this leaked information, some of which is reproduced as appendices to the book. No doubt too, in my mind, on the basis of reading this book, that the powers that be, for this read America and Britain, wish for him to be silenced. But I do question what the long-term positive effects of all this exposure will be seen to be. As the book says, there has been much apathy to be fought through before some of the leaked documents have been picked up by the world's media. The apathy of the general public should not be overlooked either. There is some shock at the time of the release but then the vast majority simply turn their gaze back on the machinations of their own lives.

I heartily recommend this book to anyone who is curious about Assange.

My apologies for having written so much, but there is nothing straight forward about Assange's life, which I find thought provoking.
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6 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An Innocent man and a guilty pleasure, 26 Sept. 2011
By 
Julian Assange's philosophy seems simple enough, challeng authority or anything that looks like authority and the moment he took an authoritarian stance against this book I followed his philosophy and bought it.
So Glad. Was a blast of a read. If only for his early childhood it gives a fascinating insight into the person who has been branded the world's most dangerous man. The history of hacking was also a blast for someone who knows so little about computers above getting on and off facebook. It was an education. The wikileaks years are the parts we all know. The rape allegations were not the overriding doctrine of hard done by as presented by the Guardian reviews of this book they are touched on with respect in a few pages, if anything Assange paints the women as victims of the system after making what was clearly a demand for an SDT cheack that was blown up by invisible forces. Sad to say Julian's innocence, perhaps even stupidity of conduct given the honey trap warnings he has, will be obvious to many but Miss A and Miss W appear doomed to a life of being those women no person should trust. Unlike the Guardian presentation of the white haired meglomaniac, Assange admits he was an idiot at this point and many others in the book, quick to criticize his own mistakes.
The relations with the media and pentagon are of main interest. It seems from Assange's accouts the media presented more of a threat to him than the CIA. They had the most to lose, a whole shift in journalistic approach that may eventually obsolete the broadsheets and media as we know them. America has less to lose than it thinks. Collateral Murder being a sharp lesson on US military bullheadedness and the dodgy dealings of rich bankers were brought into fast focus by the leaks. However it seems from reading the book, Assange has more enemies at the Guardian than the Pentagon. Recent revelations about the news gathering approaches of the Murdoch empire remind us how serious a business news is and the measures and then back peddling involved in getting it. Assange was smart enough to know the papers would let wikileaks be a fall guy they could feed on, and those in the glass offices did not like it.
Assange does get bogged down in personality slagging, he tells us of the back peddling then launches a tyrade of abuse and I found myself skipping through some paragraphs to get to the relevant bits. Julian like North Korean state TV seems to have forgotten the obvious journalistic lesson of letting the actions speak for themselves. He did not need to call people wankers, we could see they were.
I would recommend this book whether you are a wikifreak or not, its worth an insight into a little understood world of mass media and military excess and more than anything worth a look at the man who has changed the way we understand this media. As someone indifferent to Assange, I came out of the read having a lot of respect for him as a person. Not everything he does I agree with, but the book was a long long way from the negative view of him presented by a media I now see have an agenda. If our media is to be trusted, Assange hates the fact the book was ever published. I think thank God it was.
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4 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great book by a great man, 23 Oct. 2011
This book paints a vivid picture of an ingenious and creative man dedicated to the task of opening up governments by truth alone, an incredible feat indeed, in these days and ages, if you consider all the threats and ad hominem attacks he's received from all walks of life. Change is feared by many people who live off the present system. This page turner reads like an action novel from beginning to end. I recommand this book to everyone, especially those who know little about Julian Assange and wikileaks. It's an introduction to a landmark publishing outfit with many ramifications for the future of humanity. What we need now from julian is a more serious follow-up book that goes deeper into the philosophy of wikileaks and what it's trying to acheive through transparency.
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11 of 20 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Breach of trust--and copyright, 20 Jan. 2012
By 
K. M. Brooke "avid reader" (Godalming, Surrey United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
Can there really be any such thing as an "Unauthorised Autobiography"?! The title is a blatant admission of the breach of trust that got this book into print. If you care anything at all about the rights of an author LEAVE IT ALONE! The only reason the publisher isn't being sued is because no lawyer would take the case without assurances from Assange that he had the funds to back the case. Which, of course, he hasn't because of the very events that might make people want to read this book! The publisher has taken advantage of Assange's besieged situation. I refuse, on principle, to buy this book, and so should anyone who cares at all about what Assange has struggled to accomplish.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars fantastic book, 12 May 2014
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This review is from: Julian Assange: The Unauthorised Autobiography (Kindle Edition)
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
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Voice with a Difference, 17 May 2014
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Well written, engaging. Didactic. He explains difficult things very clearly, he is articulate. His story of his childhood and early youth is terrific.
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1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Perfect, 2 Nov. 2012
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 stop questioning which secrets the "powerful" keep to themselves.
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