An indispensable resource for understanding the Snowden leaks.


An intense examination of whistleblower Edward Snowden that successfully wades through both partisan rhetoric and ideological constraints.

Snowden, the former National Security Agency computer specialist who released classified documents to the media in 2013, presently lives a kind of self-imposed exile in Vladimir Putin’s Russia. Should he come home to face modern American justice? Did his actions hurt the United States, or has he helped to rescue the nation from further slippage into an increasingly undemocratic morass? Fidler (Law/Indiana Univ.; co-author: Responding to the National Security Letters: A Practical Guide for Legal Counsel, 2010, etc.) assembles a comprehensive collection of well-informed essays that intellectually probe Snowden’s actions from a variety of important angles. The questions being asked should be uncomfortable for both those who support Snowden and those who vilify him. For instance, William E. Scheuerman wonders if Snowden’s efforts to escape incarceration in America undermine the argument that his actions are akin to other heroes who challenged corruption and injustice, like Gandhi and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. After all, Scheuerman writes, “King penned a ‘Letter from a Birmingham Jail,’ not ‘Letter on the Run from a Birmingham Jail.’ ” None of the answers are easy or pat, but there are definitive conclusions to be made. With that as a setup, the collection includes many of the explosive leaked documents themselves—e.g., the one revealing telephone company data mining. The documents are followed with responses from various government officials who then take their crack at deconstructing Snowden’s actions and their impact. The United States has had some 40 years to contemplate an earlier whistleblower, Daniel Ellsberg, and his decision to leak the Pentagon Papers. Fidler’s work is significant because, while events are still playing out, it is actively helping to make sense of this pressing particular American crisis a lot more quickly.

An indispensable resource for understanding the Snowden leaks.

Pub Date: April 24, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-253-01737-6

Page Count: 312

Publisher: Indiana Univ.

Review Posted Online: Feb. 5, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2015

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The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the...


Elie Wiesel spent his early years in a small Transylvanian town as one of four children. 

He was the only one of the family to survive what Francois Maurois, in his introduction, calls the "human holocaust" of the persecution of the Jews, which began with the restrictions, the singularization of the yellow star, the enclosure within the ghetto, and went on to the mass deportations to the ovens of Auschwitz and Buchenwald. There are unforgettable and horrifying scenes here in this spare and sombre memoir of this experience of the hanging of a child, of his first farewell with his father who leaves him an inheritance of a knife and a spoon, and of his last goodbye at Buchenwald his father's corpse is already cold let alone the long months of survival under unconscionable conditions. 

The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the sphere of suffering shared, and in this case extended to the death march itself, there is no spiritual or emotional legacy here to offset any reader reluctance.

Pub Date: Jan. 16, 2006

ISBN: 0374500010

Page Count: 120

Publisher: Hill & Wang

Review Posted Online: Oct. 7, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2006

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Not an easy read but an essential one.

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Title notwithstanding, this latest from the National Book Award–winning author is no guidebook to getting woke.

In fact, the word “woke” appears nowhere within its pages. Rather, it is a combination memoir and extension of Atlantic columnist Kendi’s towering Stamped From the Beginning (2016) that leads readers through a taxonomy of racist thought to anti-racist action. Never wavering from the thesis introduced in his previous book, that “racism is a powerful collection of racist policies that lead to racial inequity and are substantiated by racist ideas,” the author posits a seemingly simple binary: “Antiracism is a powerful collection of antiracist policies that lead to racial equity and are substantiated by antiracist ideas.” The author, founding director of American University’s Antiracist Research and Policy Center, chronicles how he grew from a childhood steeped in black liberation Christianity to his doctoral studies, identifying and dispelling the layers of racist thought under which he had operated. “Internalized racism,” he writes, “is the real Black on Black Crime.” Kendi methodically examines racism through numerous lenses: power, biology, ethnicity, body, culture, and so forth, all the way to the intersectional constructs of gender racism and queer racism (the only section of the book that feels rushed). Each chapter examines one facet of racism, the authorial camera alternately zooming in on an episode from Kendi’s life that exemplifies it—e.g., as a teen, he wore light-colored contact lenses, wanting “to be Black but…not…to look Black”—and then panning to the history that informs it (the antebellum hierarchy that valued light skin over dark). The author then reframes those received ideas with inexorable logic: “Either racist policy or Black inferiority explains why White people are wealthier, healthier, and more powerful than Black people today.” If Kendi is justifiably hard on America, he’s just as hard on himself. When he began college, “anti-Black racist ideas covered my freshman eyes like my orange contacts.” This unsparing honesty helps readers, both white and people of color, navigate this difficult intellectual territory.

Not an easy read but an essential one.

Pub Date: Aug. 13, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-525-50928-8

Page Count: 320

Publisher: One World/Random House

Review Posted Online: April 28, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2019

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