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No Place to Hide: Edward Snowden, the NSA, and the U.S. Surveillance State

4.05 of 5 stars 4.05  ·  rating details  ·  3,870 ratings  ·  445 reviews
In 5/2013, Glenn Greenwald set out for Hong Kong to meet an anonymous source who claimed to have evidence of pervasive government spying & insisted on communicating only thru heavily encrypted channels. That source turned out to be the 29-year-old NSA contractor Edward Snowden. His revelations about the agency’s widespread, systemic overreach was some of the most explo ...more
Hardcover, 271 pages
Published May 13th 2014 by Metropolitan Books/Henry Holt (NY) (first published 2014)
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I wouldn't call it a masterpiece of literature (even non-fiction literature), but I'm giving it 5 stars in lieu of what it truly deserves—five big, heavy pairs of golden balls, because that's what it's all about: BALLS. The lessons of courage and integrity contained within these pages, as exemplified by Snowden, Greenwald, and all the journalists, editors and publishers who supported their efforts in shining a light into the darkest corners of the most powerful government in the world, make it m ...more
An important book. That's first thing that comes to my mind if i have to say something about it. First big chunk of it reads like a great spy novel as Greenwald shows how he came to contact with Snowden and then how to publish the information/revelations. It's a truly gripping stuff, if you add a score from some 70s conspiracy flick, the paranoia level goes up the 11; and it's all true.

The second part deals with the revelations, if you have read the Greenwald's Guardian articles there's not much
Perhaps the most frightening book I have ever read. I'm not even kidding.

I especially appreciated his argument against the idea "only bad people need fear the NSA," because one, "bad" people have civil rights, too, and two, "bad" is defined as anyone who disagrees with the powers that be. Everyone's rights must be protected or no one is free.
Snowden and Greenwald were afraid the information they’d risked everything to expose would be ignored or shrugged off by the public, so inured are we to the pervasiveness of “threats” and its counterbalance “surveillance.” In one of the later chapters, Greenwald addresses the idea of privacy, and why we need it:
“Only when we believe that nobody else is watching us do we feel free—safe—to truly experiment, to rest boundaries, to explore new ways of thinking and being, to explore what it means to
Wil Edwards
One of the most phenomenal books I've ever read. Glenn Greenwald is a pure spirit, striking straight at the gut of the cocky politicians and institutions drunk on political and technological power, all leading lives of hypocrisy as they claim to represent democracy and freedom, while simultaneously tormenting the world with drone strikes and invasive surveillance.

It was utterly thrilling to read Greenwald's first hand account of being contacted by one Edward Snowden, and then meeting him in Hon
Fabian Scherschel
Roughly a year after establishing contact with Edward Snowden, journalist Glenn Greenwald has published a book that is part spy story, part analysis of the impact of Snowden's revelations and in part a reckoning with the surveillance state his home country has become. Greenwald writes his book with the authority vested in him by the whistleblower, who reportedly chose him based on his work in the past. With this trust comes probably the most comprehensive access to Snowden's documents anybody as ...more
I've been following the story of the NSA leaks from the beginning, so of course I bought this book almost as soon as it was available on Kindle. At first I didn't have the time to sit down and devour it, but I read bits and pieces the first couple of days and I could already see how good it was going to be.

Somewhat frustrated that I hadn't been able to get any long reading sessions in yet, I realized some early reviews would probably be out by then, so I went online to check out what kind of wav
Brandon Forsyth
I'd give this four and a half stars if I could! Greenwald does an excellent job with the book's structure, taking readers through his experiences with Snowden, to the documents he provided and the troubling questions they raise. Finally, Greenwald focuses on the media, and the role they can (but rarely do) perform to challenge the government. The book is focused, angry, and uncompromising, painting a disturbing portrait of the NSA and the intelligence community, and the world they have created. ...more
Ashutosh Jogalekar
Makes as good a case for preserving civil liberties and individual privacy against government interference as I have read, and you don't have to be of any particular political persuasion to appreciate the argument. Also excoriates the mainstream media with righteous, smoldering contempt for toeing the party line and publishing only "government-approved" material. Greenwald appeals to mainstream reporters to revert back to the press's original role, which was to act as an independent bulwark agai ...more
The Edward Snowden leaks have been in the news for about a year now. Frankly, they were just a background part of the news that washed over me in a depressive way every day.I was one of those people the author mentions who routinely said, 'oh, my life is too boring for the government to care about'. I saw Glenn Greenwald on a talk show---I don't even remember which one now. I thought he seemed calm, well-spoken, and that he had very interesting things to say, so that, yes, I might like to read h ...more
Brad Feld
Amy and I were going to have a bunch of friends over to our house today but we got rained out. So, I read Glenn Greenwald’s book No Place to Hide: Edward Snowden, the NSA, and the U.S. Surveillance State instead.

It was outstanding – 5 stars.

Let’s start with the punchline from Warren and Brandeis in their 1890 Harvard Law Review article The Right to Privacy where they assert that the right to privacy is primarily a “right to be left alone.”

Ponder that for a moment.

It’s a hot topic in my household
Peter Meyers
Its been a long time since I read an entire book in one sitting.

I find the most disturbing part of this entire story to be the way in which the appointed talking heads tried to slander Greenwald and Snowden afterwards. The story here isn't as much about what the NSA is collecting and what it isn't, as it is about how the powers that be don't like dissenting thought and how easy it is to turn the propaganda machine against someone.

Americans have become desensitized to losing their privacy. What
Yonis Gure
And here I thought true, honest, adversarial journalism was a dying art. Glenn Greenwald, over the last couple of years or so, has emerged as one of America’s leading civil-liberties advocate and he stands aloof from his fellow power-hugging journalists who engage in egregious dereliction of duty by not speaking truth to the powers that be.

Beginning with his first contact with Snowden, his sojourn in Hong Kong, his meticulous assembling of the disclosures and his elucidation of the broader impl
Christian Bauman
Great book. So why the 3 stars instead of more? Because Greenwald, I think, forgot the WHO at the end, spending the entire second half of the book focusing solely on WHAT. That stuff was important and appreciated, but lacked the color of the first half of the book, which was a portrait of this guy Snowden as well as the tale of what he went through. Yes, the info on what was in the NSA leaks was/is important, and Greenwald's excellent commentary on it was important. But equally as important was/ ...more
Arielle Walker
In May 2013, Edward Snowden released classified National Security documents proving that the American government had been spying en-masse on its citizens. He has since been called both a traitor and a patriot, a hero and a dissident, but even his strongest critics were unable to deny the truth behind his allegations: peoples’ privacy was being violated in extreme, secretive ways – and the government was lying to cover it up.

At the time – at least at first – it all sounded to me like the plot of
You don’t need this book to see how obviously off the chain is the NSA. The evidence of that has been all over the Guardian, the Washington Post, the New York Times and elsewhere for a year now. While there is a chapter full of further evidence to that effect, the real value in this book is in the other chapters, particularly the fourth chapter that covers why we should care about the NSA's transgressions.

There are many who wish to claim that those who aren't engaged in anything illegal have no
Greenwald delivers an amazing insider access on the most important news story of the decade. As a longtime reader of his columns, I found his personal account of the unfolding Edward Snowden story to be fascinating and insightful. Greenwald begins with his initial contact with “Cincinnatus” (the code name Snowden used) and how he almost missed the NSA scoop entirely. Luckily, Snowden’s determination forced Greenwald to take note and the rest is history. Snowden’s motivation for acting and releas ...more
Sep 03, 2014 Clara rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommended to Clara by: Nigel Shakespear
Ed Snowden for President? I can't help feeling the world would be a better place! He and Glenn Greenwald have raised the bar of integrity, courage and sacrifice in our modern era, and they are heroes for it.

No 5-star rating can possibly do justice to the importance of this book. Greenwald's arguments and revelations punch right to the core and make you step back and see the bigger picture in all its frightening clarity. Perfectly balancing the issues of mass surveillance, the role of journalism
Peter Mcloughlin
This fast paced easy to read and clear book is chilling. The NSA is developing a panopticon of survelance that Orwell couldn't imagine. Greenwald lays out the in transcripts he received from Edward Snowden the extent of the spying on Americans and people worldwide. It reads like something out of a dystopian tech thriller but this is most definitely a work of non-fiction. The NSA is on a mission to collect as much information as it possibly can on everyone. There are no boundaries. Right now it ...more
Not even two decades of data privacy experience nor following the Snowden story closely could have prepared me for this book of revelation.

No Place to Hide reads like an action novella that transitions to polemic, leaving the reader with a bit of anxiety about "But what's going to happen to Snowden?!" during the polemic section. But don't worry: Greenwald heightens the emotional stakes once more by describing, in one damning quotation after another, the degree of coziness between specific member
Greenwald has some huevos. Most journalists serve their corporate overlords well, but he put his freedom on the line to publish Snowden's NSA leaks. This is a very good story about how it happened and why we should care. Now is the time to read it.
Kathy Uribe
This is one of the most frightening books I've ever read, that simple. The five stars are mainly due to the importance of this book, an unusual first person glimpse into Edward Snowden's motives and actions and the actual process of releasing the confidential NSA documents he so carefully collected during so much time. His only purpose, and Greenwald's, was to shed light on the darkest and most dangerous of secrets of the world's most powerful nation, it's move to collect all information, on eve ...more
There are quite some books out there on the NSA surveillance topic. I decided to pick this one because I believe it's as close to the "truth" as it possibly can be. And that's an ugly truth indeed.

Not a day goes by without new shocking details about this incredible ordeal are being flushed to the surface. (Just yesterday an employee of BND (Bundenachrichtendienst, the German equivalent to the NSA) has been arrested for spying on the German parliamentary investigation into US government spying on
The opening chapters on meeting Snowden and retrieving the documents are adequately adventurous. The chapter of government documents balances technical jargon with clear description. Chapter four draws on philosophers Jeremy Bentham's and Michel Foucault's concept of the panopticon to explain how mass surveillance inherently represses citizens and journalists. This chapter is not overly academic, and some may think it is even a pedestrian encounter with the issues of privacy and surveillance. Gr ...more
Michael Kerr
It's so ironic that the president who - as an African American - has gained the most from the civil rights movement of 50 years ago, has turned out to be the most extreme violator of civil rights. Prior to reading this book, I thought of Obama as a vast improvement on the previous administration. Now that's not so clear. Just imagine what Hoover would have "accomplished" with the unlimited and unchecked power that Obama has granted the NSA....

This is such an important book. I don't think that c
Erik Graff
Sep 20, 2014 Erik Graff rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: everyone
Recommended to Erik by: Erik Badger
This was a belated birthday gift from my stepbrother. Having heard Greenwald interviewed on public radio and having been impressed both by him and by such whistle-blowers as Edward Snowden I got down to reading it almost immediately.

The first part of this book is an exciting description of how Greenwald and Snowden met and established a relationship of mutual trust. It also describes how the publication process began.

The second part outlines the published evidence itself. It is studded with scre
Christopher Blosser
Glenn Greenwald's "No Place to Hide" is a disturbing but imperative read for all American citizens.

Chapters 1 ("Contact") chronicles Greenwald's initial meetings with Edward Snowden (tentatively reaching out using the monicker "Cincinnatus", after the Roman statesman and exemplar of civic virtue). Greenwald, at one time a constitutional lawyer and civil rights litigator, journalist and blogger, was selected by Snowden due to his interest in the ongoing violations of privacy by the CIA / NSA. (Cu

Kevin Gosztola
Already familiar with many of the NSA revelations detailed in the book (although there are new documents published in the book), what I most appreciated was the glimpse into the drama that unfolded between all the players as Edward Snowden tried to find journalists to publish his documents. Then, there's the drama that ensued as Greenwald prodded The Guardian to publish and The Guardian tried to gauge the hyperbolic claims from the government about national security.

The Washington Post also app
Originally published at Reading Reality

I chose this book for 9/11, not because it’s a story about the terrorist act, but because I see a clear bright line that can be traced from that day to the fear-mongering that birthed the Patriot Act and all of its restrictions on civil liberties to the security state that Edward Snowden (and Glenn Greenwald) defined in Snowden’s release of the NSA documents.

I keep thinking of the Ben Franklin quotation; “Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purcha
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Glenn Greenwald is an American lawyer, columnist, blogger and author who worked as a constitutional and civil-rights litigator prior to becoming a contributor (columnist and blogger) to, where he focuses on political and legal topics. He has also contributed to other newspapers and political news magazines, including The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times, The American Conservative, T ...more
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“Democracy requires accountability and consent of the governed, which is only possible if citizens know what is being done in their name.” 4 likes
“Transparency is for those who carry out public duties and exercise public power. Privacy is for everyone else.” 4 likes
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