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

4.07  ·  Rating details ·  13,525 ratings  ·  1,324 reviews
By Glenn Greenwald, star of Citizenfour, the Academy Award-winning documentary on Edward Snowden

In May 2013, Glenn Greenwald set out for Hong Kong to meet an anonymous source who claimed to have astonishing evidence of pervasive government spying and insisted on communicating only through heavily encrypted channels. That source turned out to be the twenty-nine-year-old NSA
Hardcover, 260 pages
Published May 13th 2014 by Metropolitan Books/Henry Holt (NY)
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Dede Excellent book. The detail can be heavy going, but there is a lot of it. Those who paid attention knew the NSA was watching, and knew about the link i…moreExcellent book. The detail can be heavy going, but there is a lot of it. Those who paid attention knew the NSA was watching, and knew about the link in SF, but knowing is different to having proof in detail. This is the latter, thanks to the sacrifice of Edward Snowden. (less)

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Dec 02, 2013 rated it it was amazing
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
Jun 20, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: nonfiction
Recently I've gone down an Edward Snowden rabbit hole. I've now read two books on him, watched the documentary "Citizenfour," followed him on Twitter, and looked up several other interviews.

It's fair to say I'm concerned about the invasive surveillance tactics of the National Security Agency. Snowden, who was a systems administrator, became a whistleblower on the NSA back in 2013, downloading classified documents and releasing them to journalists. Snowden fled the country, going first to Hong K
May 14, 2014 rated it it was amazing
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.
May 25, 2014 rated it it was amazing
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
Tom LA
Jun 07, 2015 rated it did not like it
I shouldn't be shocked that 99% of the reviewers writing here hail Snowden as a hero. As someone who had the guts to do what had to be done. After all, if you don’t share the same admiration for Snowden and don't approve what he did, you are not very likely to read this book.

But I am still shocked nonetheless at the number of people who support this kid's behaviour.

I think civil liberties are enormously important, but I believe Snowden is, in the words of "The New Yorker", a grandiose narcissis
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
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 Pfaeffle Journal (Diane)
Mar 20, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2017
I was interested in how one person could possibly steal digital information from our government. I never really found out by reading this book. I did find out that the government has the ability to know a lot about us and our personal lives. I also decided that you would have to live totally off the grid to have any real privacy, which I don't think is even possible to do any longer.

What interest me now is if we have such capabilities to spy on people then, we should know exactly what was happen
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
May 16, 2014 rated it it was amazing
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
Christine Zibas
Feb 01, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2017-books
"Ultimately, beyond diplomatic manipulation and economic gain, a system of ubiquitous spying allows the United States to maintain its grip on the world. When the United States is able to know everything that everyone is doing, saying, thinking, and planning -- its own citizens, foreign populations, international corporations, other government leaders -- its power over those factions is maximized.... It is the ultimate imbalance, permitting the most dangerous of all human conditions: the exercise ...more
May 26, 2014 rated it it was amazing
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
Feb 24, 2015 marked it as to-read
This isn't a review of No Place To Hide, I haven't read this book.

These are a few comments on Citizenfour, which I watched last night.

There is nothing revelatory in the film, nothing you wouldn't know if you have been following Snowden and Greenwald's story and the facts about NSA surveillance here and abroad. What the film does give you is a chance to hear Snowden's side of things, as Laura Poitras was with him in the hotel in Hong Kong during the eight days that Greenwald interviewed Snowden a
Ash Jogalekar
Jun 23, 2014 rated it it was amazing
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
May 19, 2014 rated it really liked it
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
Yonis Gure
May 12, 2014 rated it it was amazing
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
Brandon Forsyth
May 15, 2014 rated it really liked it
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
Mario the lone bookwolf
Apr 04, 2018 rated it really liked it
The motto of the civilian population is just to go on as if nothing had happened.

Please note that I put the original German text at the end of this review. Just if you might be interested.

I have read the book a few years later. As a result, the lack of consequences and improvements has become all the more obvious. There is not much to add to the story because of its fame. Except that the Nobel Peace Prize should perhaps not have been handed over to the President, but to the public enemy.
The fac
Brad Feld
Jun 08, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: politics
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
I hated this book and I am by no means an NSA apologist. I think the system should be dismantled and that the leaders and corporations who conspired with the NSA should be punished. Their overreach is staggering. (Expected, since governments have been doing this as much as they could since we created them, but staggering.)
Unfortunately the reporting here sucks. It reads as though it's supposed to be a political thriller, but it's poorly done and focuses on the least interesting aspect of the sto
Jul 26, 2017 rated it really liked it
First half was excellent.. because it foretold exactly what happened before and during the documentary CITIZEN FOUR. But the latter half was a little bit too boring for me. I did find out many things like the government being able to tap into ANY electronic device (whether it's powered off or on) and turn it into a listening device. They can also activate your cameras to literally spy on you, even if it's off. Creepy right?! So yeah every time I have my phone, iPad or laptop, I'm aware of all of ...more
Sep 15, 2014 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
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
Twerking To Beethoven
Good book, love the style, a real page-turner. Glenn Greenwald definitely knows how to get the reader's attention, I have to give him that.

As for the content of the book itself, oh well, the NSA spies on everybody so you might as well say goodbye to your privacy. Your mobs are being spied, the NSA can take control of your phone and listen to whatever you say. Not only that, Verizon and At&T are willing to hand everything over to the Agency or whatever secret service in order to keep the Nation
May 23, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: adult-nonfiction
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
Mar 03, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book was equal parts fascinating and horrifying. By now, most people are aware of the mass surveillance revealed by Edward Snowden but in No Place to Hide: Edward Snowden, the NSA, and the U.S. Surveillance State, Glenn Greenwald goes through great pains to show why it's so deeply wrong and terrifying.

The first part of the book is about Greenwald being contacted by Snowden, Greenwald's trip to Hong Kong, and the media frenzy that ensued after the first revelation was posted in The Guardian
Aug 18, 2014 rated it it was amazing
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
Mar 13, 2017 rated it it was amazing
"The true measure of a society's freedom is how it treats its dissidents and other marginalized groups, not how it treats good loyalists." - Greenwald

Probably the most important book I will read this year. You should read it too. Every high school student should read it. This is the kind of book that should be introduced early in everyone's lives because it introduces so many important questions and awarenesses- some deeply personal, some more social/cultural.

They are watching. There are more le
May 13, 2014 rated it it was amazing
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. ...more
Manuel Antão
Aug 24, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2020
If you're into stuff like this, you can read the full review.

Vacuuming Up: "No Place to Hide: Edward Snowden, the NSA, and the U.S. Surveillance State" by Glenn Greenwald

And what are they vacuuming up? A daily 1.7 billion e-mails, phone calls, crank calls, dropped calls, robo-calls, Nigerian-investment e-mails, YouTube videos of Justin Booby and other types of communications. The banalities of a nation. Ladies and gentlemen, attend.

- - -

VOICE (female): Hello.

VOICE (male): It’s me.

WOMAN: (female,
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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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