Kirkus Reviews QR Code


How One Man Exposed the Truth About Government Spying and Digital Security

by Edward Snowden

Pub Date: Feb. 9th, 2021
ISBN: 978-1-250-76791-2
Publisher: Henry Holt

The young readers version of the bestselling memoir by a man who revealed the scope of the U.S. government’s spying on its own citizens.

Snowden gained instant fame in 2013 when he released documents to hand-picked journalists that demonstrated the depth of the National Security Agency’s unconstitutional surveillance of ordinary Americans’ phone calls, emails, texts and more. His memoir uncovers the roots of his concerns and traces his journey from eager government intelligence worker to whistleblower. The book is divided into three parts. The first covers Snowden’s growing-up years, including his fascination with computers and the internet, his hacks for getting through school with minimal effort, his first job, a short stint in the Army, meeting his future wife, and eventually obtaining his first high-level security clearance at age 22. Part 2 focuses on his increasing unease as he moved up the intelligence career ladder. Part 3 details how he discovered the massive invasion of ordinary citizens’ privacy, his decision to alert the press, and the sobering aftermath. Snowden tells good stories that illuminate his thinking while also providing intriguing glimpses into the world of surveillance. His prose is crisp and clear, although the afterword written for this version, which focuses on staying digitally safe on the internet, is not as tight as the rest of the book.

An absorbing read about digital privacy and one man’s fateful choice to disclose government secrets.

(Memoir. 12-18)