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Now I Know Who My Comrades Are: An On-the-Ground Look at the Lives of Internet Activists in China, Cuba, and Russia
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Now I Know Who My Comrades Are: An On-the-Ground Look at the Lives of Internet Activists in China, Cuba, and Russia

4.1 of 5 stars 4.10  ·  rating details  ·  50 ratings  ·  15 reviews
An incisive look at the next major battlegrounds between the Internet and state control
In Now I Know Who My Comrades Are, Emily Parker, a former State Department policy advisor and former writer at The Wall Street Journal, provides on-the-ground accounts of how the Internet is transforming lives in China, Cuba and Russia.
In China, university students use the Internet to s
Hardcover, 320 pages
Published February 18th 2014 by Sarah Crichton Books
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Zara Rahman
Really great - finally, a book about internet and society that focuses on views from parts of the world other than simply the US and Europe, written by someone who clearly has extensive experience in various different cultures as well as the ability to speak to people in their own languages and really understand their perspectives. It was refreshing to get these different perspectives, and an interesting read too!
Chris Aylott
Parker gives a clear-eyed appraisal of the challenges facing and strengths of online dissident movements in China, Cuba and Russia. She does a particularly good job of presenting the viewpoints of the people she profiles, showing how the cultures they have grown up in influence their speech and their assumptions.
Daniel Parker
Really outstanding account of how wannabe democrats around the world use the internet to expose the problems in their society, culture, and governments. I learned quite a bit by reading these accounts. One thing for sure. Keep supporting the world wide web and net neutrality. corrupt governments will eventually capsize on the free flow of information via the web, twitter, blogging, facebook, etc. It may not have been the author's intention, but if Americans want to value their freedom more, read ...more
Joe User
This book, written by a long-time journalist who's worked for both the Wall Street Journal and the NY Times, analyzes how dissidents in three authoritarian countries are using the Internet to change the realities on the ground. Fast paced and informative, the writing brings readers onto the streets and into the digital networks of China, Cuba and Russia, and shows how the psychological afflictions of isolation, fear and apathy respectively affect each country.

The book is based on extensive, in-
Ken Braley
"Now I Know Who My Comrades Are" takes it's title from one of the author's many conversations with Zhao Jing, one of China's most well know bloggers, who writes under the pen name Michael Anti. Emily Parker, is currently a digital diplomacy adviser and senior fellow at the New America Foundation, and previously was a member of Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's policy planning staff, where she focused on digital diplomacy, internet freedom, and open government. In this book, Parker gives insig ...more
By profiling internet activists in repressive regimes, Parker creates a portrait not just of dissent and the possibilities of internet activism, but she also helps create a picture of exactly what censorship and repression looks like in the modern age. It's a thoroughly engrossing read, and anyone looking to understand what democratic activism looks like in a technologically saturated world should read this book.
Saw Emily Parker speak at New America Foundation in New York and was so impressed I bought the book after the talk. It did not disappoint. Parker is a sold writer - forceful but never overstating her points. She is also a thorough interviewer as reflected in the full portraits of Internet activists throughout the book.
Elizabeth Zander
Timely and very interesting to read about how the internet is used and censored in China and Russia.
Veronika Bel
What an accessible and fascinating way to connect three countries with unique liberty and freedom expression struggles and tease out the common denominators. A page turner that leaves you wanting and researching more. As a native Russian speaker, the Russia section was accurate and realistic. It hit a nerve. I expected to enjoy it the most. But, I was surprised just how enthralled I was with the Cuba and China sections - two countries I knew little about. Parker made me want to learn more, not j ...more
Highly recommend this book. Very engaging and insightful. As a Cuban-born writer myself, I couldn't appreciate it more.
Samuel A
An excellent, though-provoking excursion into the lives of otherwise ordinary people who find themselves at odds with their governments in three countries where being at odds with the government is often ill advised. The book is less about the Internet than it is about how people interact with power and develop their own sense of empowerment, providing a sobering look both at what new communications technologies can help people achieve, and at how much still remains to be accomplished.
Cheryl D
An informative and somewhat unnerving book. The internet will never be the same after you examine the ideas put forth by the author. The only negative the book is somewhat repetitive in places. It was also borrowed by a friend who cited it in a college paper. She thought it was an excellent read.
Parker looks at dissidents in China, Russia, and Cuba, to see how the Internet is changing the way activists...activate. It was really interesting stuff, but each section seemed to be a bit too long.
This book is doomed to quickly become obsolete, considering the pace at which things move on the internet. However, this feels like the most politically important book I've read since 'Half the Sky' was released 5-ish years ago; I would love to see it get the same level of attention. I found this book incredibly enlightening and educational - my eyes have been opened to issues I was once completely ignorant about.

[Full disclosure: I won this book for free in a Goodreads First Reads Giveaway.]
A solid presentation of how the internet has been used in China, Cuba, and Russia in the face of isolation, fear, and apathy (respectively). The portions on China and Cuba are the most compelling. Echoing this review, what's lacking here is any kind of synthesis of the three parts.
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Emily Parker is the author of "Now I Know Who My Comrades Are: Voices From the Internet Underground" which will be published by Sarah Crichton Books/Farrar, Straus & Giroux in February, 2014. Mario Vargas Llosa, winner of the 2010 Nobel Prize for Literature, wrote that the book is "a rigorously researched and reported account that reads like a thriller. It's been a while since I have read a bo ...more
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