A worthwhile contribution to our ongoing national debate about the balance between national security and privacy and about...

THE WAR ON LEAKERS

NATIONAL SECURITY AND AMERICAN DEMOCRACY, FROM EUGENE V. DEBS TO EDWARD SNOWDEN

Who poses the greater threat to the United States: the spymasters and their “enormous power” or the leakers “who occasionally expose them?”

Add still another blow to Woodrow Wilson’s tottering historical reputation. As a World War I security measure, Wilson proposed the Espionage Act of 1917—he tried vainly to get press censorship into the law—and used it instead to suppress dissent, most notoriously against Eugene Debs, Socialist Party leader, imprisoned for giving anti-war speeches. With the rise of the national security state during and after World War II, succeeding administrations have persisted in using the act not so much to punish foreign agents but rather to go after protestors and leakers, most famously Daniel Ellsberg in 1971 for supplying the Pentagon Papers to the New York Times. Since 9/11, intelligence agencies have accrued even more power and have employed the act and other laws to pursue the likes of Bradley Manning and Edward Snowden, to ensnare journalists—Glenn Greenwald, James Risen, and Michael Hastings, among others—who convey classified information not to the enemy but to the public. Near the end of his well-written, tightly argued discussion of these and other cases, Gardner (Emeritus, History/Rutgers Univ.; Killing Machine: The American Presidency in the Age of Drone Warfare, 2013, etc.) declares that the intelligence community has become “the unacknowledged supreme master of the federal government.” By threatening aggressive investigatory journalism, by shielding government malpractice, by violating the separation of powers doctrine, intelligence agencies have done more, he writes, to undermine our democracy than to make us safe. Adding to Gardner’s credibility is his willingness to be as harsh on Barack Obama as on George W. Bush and his accommodation of such voices as Sean Wilentz, Michael Kinsley, and George Packer, all of whom have been critical of either the methods or character of the whistleblowers.

A worthwhile contribution to our ongoing national debate about the balance between national security and privacy and about the line between sedition and dissent.

Pub Date: March 1, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-62097-063-8

Page Count: 336

Publisher: The New Press

Review Posted Online: Dec. 7, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2015

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

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

NIGHT

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

Did you like this book?

A moving meditation on mortality by a gifted writer whose dual perspectives of physician and patient provide a singular...

Reader Votes

  • Readers Vote
  • 12

Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT

Google Rating

  • google rating
  • google rating
  • google rating
  • google rating
  • google rating
  • Kirkus Reviews'
    Best Books Of 2016

  • New York Times Bestseller

  • Pulitzer Prize Finalist

WHEN BREATH BECOMES AIR

A neurosurgeon with a passion for literature tragically finds his perfect subject after his diagnosis of terminal lung cancer.

Writing isn’t brain surgery, but it’s rare when someone adept at the latter is also so accomplished at the former. Searching for meaning and purpose in his life, Kalanithi pursued a doctorate in literature and had felt certain that he wouldn’t enter the field of medicine, in which his father and other members of his family excelled. “But I couldn’t let go of the question,” he writes, after realizing that his goals “didn’t quite fit in an English department.” “Where did biology, morality, literature and philosophy intersect?” So he decided to set aside his doctoral dissertation and belatedly prepare for medical school, which “would allow me a chance to find answers that are not in books, to find a different sort of sublime, to forge relationships with the suffering, and to keep following the question of what makes human life meaningful, even in the face of death and decay.” The author’s empathy undoubtedly made him an exceptional doctor, and the precision of his prose—as well as the moral purpose underscoring it—suggests that he could have written a good book on any subject he chose. Part of what makes this book so essential is the fact that it was written under a death sentence following the diagnosis that upended his life, just as he was preparing to end his residency and attract offers at the top of his profession. Kalanithi learned he might have 10 years to live or perhaps five. Should he return to neurosurgery (he could and did), or should he write (he also did)? Should he and his wife have a baby? They did, eight months before he died, which was less than two years after the original diagnosis. “The fact of death is unsettling,” he understates. “Yet there is no other way to live.”

A moving meditation on mortality by a gifted writer whose dual perspectives of physician and patient provide a singular clarity.

Pub Date: Jan. 19, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-8129-8840-6

Page Count: 248

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: Sept. 30, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2015

Did you like this book?

more