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Snowden
     

Snowden

5.0 1
by Ted Rall
 

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As many as 1.4 million citizens with security clearance saw some or all of the same documents revealed by Edward Snowden. Why did he, and no one else, decide to step forward and take on the risks associated with becoming a whistleblower and then a fugitive? Rall delves into Snowden's early life and work experience, his personality, and the larger issues of privacy,

Overview

As many as 1.4 million citizens with security clearance saw some or all of the same documents revealed by Edward Snowden. Why did he, and no one else, decide to step forward and take on the risks associated with becoming a whistleblower and then a fugitive? Rall delves into Snowden's early life and work experience, his personality, and the larger issues of privacy, new surveillance technologies, and the recent history of government intrusion. Rall describes Snowden's political vision and hopes for the future. In a way, the book tells two stories: Snowden's and a larger one that describes all of us on the threshold of tremendous technological upheaval and political change.

Snowden is a portrait of a brave young man standing up to the most powerful government in the world and, if not winning, at least reaching a stand-off, and in this way is an incitation to us all to measure our courage and listen to our consciences in asking ourselves what we might have done in his shoes.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
08/10/2015
It’s a safe bet that when a left-leaning political cartoonist like Rall (To Afghanistan and Back) authors an entire book about Snowden and his NSA whistle-blowing, it’s not going to be a hit job. Still, this simplistic chapbook throws uncritical glory over its subject. Rall begins with an overly simplified and frequently made parallel between the current state of surveillance and George Orwell’s 1984. Then he presents a pocket biography of Snowden, whose military service in 2003 failed ignominiously—he was discharged without finishing his training. Snowden then worked as an NSA security guard, quickly vaulting up the pay and responsibility scale (a potentially fascinating chain of events that Rall skips over). Snowden’s frustration in discovering the surveillance that the government insisted wasn’t happening is palpable but, again, barely explored. The dramatic decision to go public as a whistle-blower and flee the country is told in a crisp outline, but the broader issues are not engaged so much as flung at the reader in broadsides. The Snowden story is one of the greatest of our time, but Rall is not the one to deliver it in serious fashion. (Aug.)
From the Publisher
"A darkly funny look at our ongoing surveillance nightmare. . . .An entertaining, exhaustive, and approachable look at an incredibly important and relevant topic, because information security affects everyone whether you like it or not." --PC Magazine

"Ted Rall's Snowden is a dramatic, evocative, thoughtful and very accessible account of one of the most important stories of the century – and one of the most ominous, unless citizens are roused to action to rein in abusive state power." —Noam Chomsky

"VERDICT Written for adults but accessible to teens and sophisticated tweens, this work belongs in all libraries and will supply focus and background—if not unanimity—to everyone interested in government oversight issues."--School Library Journal

"Ted Rall nails his accurate graphics on the door of the national security state's unconstitutional mass surveillance, blanket invasions of privacy and related illegalities against the American people—charged to the American taxpayers.
       "For all self-respecting citizens pressed for time, Ted Rall's story of the heroic whistleblower, Edward Snowden, is essential reading as 'Big Brother' starts having to look over its shoulders."
—Ralph Nader

“His book, at 225 pages long, is actually extremely useful even to someone who knows the Snowden story relatively well. Rall clearly lays the story out in a comprehensive, surprisingly enjoyable way, and his signature, colorfully wry figures in text-heavy panels lend a whimsy and absurdity which match Snowden’s saga.” — Steven W Thrasher, The Guardian 

“Through comically drawn figures and thorough yet uncomplicated blocks of text, Rall chronicles former NSA contractor Snowden’s early life, work experience, personality and political evolution. The unabashedly pro-Snowden deep-dive serves to help answer the questions: Of the countless government employees who knew of these programs, why was Snowden the one to risk everything to uncover them? And would we have done the same had we been in his position?” — Lauren Walker, Newsweek

 

Library Journal
09/15/2015
Supertechie hero, or supertechie villain? The life and work of 32-year-old Edward Snowden command attention, whether one supports his mission to expose the U.S. National Security Agency's omnivorous appetite for data or whether one considers him traitorous for doing so. Cartoonist/reporter Rall (To Afghanistan and Back) is clearly in the first camp, while providing background about both sides and posing questions of universal interest: How much espionage is too much? What groups should be targeted? What kinds of checks and balances should be imposed? And how should dissent about such things be managed? Rall crunches a large amount of information into his narrative, documented in 14 pages of source notes in a presentation that is easy to follow and fascinating. Cartoony, full-color art supports the text-heavy account partly with illustrations and partly with examples, diagrams, attributed quotations, screen images, document excerpts, photos, and headlines. Seven Stories plans a discussion guide. VERDICT Written for adults but accessible to teens and sophisticated tweens, this work belongs in all libraries and will supply focus and background—if not unanimity—to everyone interested in government oversight issues.—M.C.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781609806354
Publisher:
Seven Stories Press
Publication date:
08/25/2015
Pages:
224
Sales rank:
586,176
Product dimensions:
5.00(w) x 6.90(h) x 0.90(d)

Meet the Author

Twice the winner of the Robert F. Kennedy Journalism Award and a Pulitzer Prize finalist, TED RALL is a political cartoonist, opinion columnist, graphic novelist and occasional war correspondent whose work has appeared in hundreds of publications, including the New York TimesWashington PostVillage Voice, and Los Angeles Times. He is the illustrator of the full-length comic in Billionaires & Ballot Bandits: How to Steal an Election in 9 Easy Steps, written by Greg Palast.

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Snowden 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
plappen 11 months ago
In graphic novel form, this book looks at the life and motivation of Edward Snowden, one of the most famous, or infamous, people in the world. Snowden grew up in Maryland, just a few miles from the headquarters of the National Security Agency, or NSA. It was the sort of community where one learns not to ask their neighbor, or their spouse, just what they do for a living; it's probably secret. An attempt to join the Army after 9/11 was not successful. As a CIA employee, he was stationed for a time in Switzerland. He was exposed to other systems of values, and began to wonder if America was really the "good guys." He left the CIA, and joined the NSA, eventually becoming a systems administrator, or sysadmin. He spent some time in Japan, which further removed any notion that America was on the side of the angels. As a sysadmin, he had access to all sorts of classified files that detailed America's surveillance plans. Whenever he had a chance, he downloaded file after file onto flash drives. Here are a couple of examples. An NSA program called "Captivated Audience" lets them track you through your smartphone and listen to conversations in your home, even if the phone is Off. "Gumfish" allows the NSA to take a picture of you, at any time, using the camera in your laptop. Smart TVs, those that allow streaming of web content, have a camera that the government can activate at any time to watch anybody (like the telescreens in Orwell's "1984"). Now working in Honolulu for an NSA contractor, one day Snowden hopped a taxi to the airport with his flash drives. His next stop was Hong Kong where he leaked his information to a couple of journalists. After the worldwide bombshell, he was planning to fly to Latin America to ask for asylum. While in the air, his passport was revoked. He also knew that if he flew through the airspace of a US ally, the ally would force the plane to land. Snowden would be arrested, handed over to American authorities and "disappeared" (like Bradley/Chelsea Manning). Snowden got as far as Moscow, where he remains today. Say what you will about Edward Snowden (he is a hero or he is a traitor), this is an excellent, and very easy to read, look at why he did what he did. It's very highly recommended.