Dark Mirror: Book summary and reviews of Dark Mirror by Barton Gellman

Dark Mirror

Edward Snowden and the American Surveillance State

by Barton Gellman

Dark Mirror by Barton Gellman X
Dark Mirror by Barton Gellman
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Book Summary

From the three-time Pulitzer Prize winner and author of the New York Times bestseller Angler, the definitive master narrative of Edward Snowden and the modern surveillance state, based on unique access to Snowden and groundbreaking reportage around the world.

Edward Snowden touched off a global debate in 2013 when he gave Barton Gellman, Laura Poitras and Glenn Greenwald each a vast and explosive archive of highly classified files revealing the extent of the American government's access to our every communication. They shared the Pulitzer Prize that year for public service. For Gellman, who never stopped reporting, that was only the beginning. He jumped off from what Snowden gave him to track the reach and methodology of the U.S. surveillance state and bring it to light with astonishing new clarity. Along the way, he interrogated Snowden's own history and found important ways in which myth and reality do not line up. Gellman treats Snowden with respect, but this is no hagiographic account, and Dark Mirror sets the record straight in ways that are both fascinating and important.

Dark Mirror is the story that Gellman could not tell before, a gripping inside narrative of investigative reporting as it happened and a deep dive into the machinery of the surveillance state. Gellman recounts the puzzles, dilemmas and tumultuous events behind the scenes of his work – in top secret intelligence facilities, in Moscow hotel rooms, in huddles with Post lawyers and editors, in Silicon Valley executive suites, and in encrypted messages from anonymous accounts. Within the book is a compelling portrait of national security journalism under pressure from legal threats, government investigations, and foreign intelligence agencies intent on stealing Gellman's files. Throughout Dark Mirror, Gellman wages an escalating battle against unknown adversaries who force him to mimic their tradecraft in self-defense.

With the vivid and insightful style that is the author's trademark, Dark Mirror is a true-life spy tale about the surveillance-industrial revolution and its discontents. Along the way, with the benefit of fresh reporting, it tells the full story of a government leak unrivaled in drama since All the President's Men.

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"[A] masterful narrative...that deserves its place alongside All the President's Men, Five Days at Memorial, Nickel and Dimed, and other classics of the genre...A riveting, timely book sure to be one of the most significant of the year." - Kirkus (starred review)

"Enriching the high-level technical and legal analysis with a sharp sense of humor, Gellman presents an exhaustive study of intelligence gathering in the digital age. Even readers who have followed the Snowden story closely will learn something new." - Publishers Weekly

"Gellman delivers a compelling story while recounting difficult predicaments and behind-the-scenes events. He takes a deep dive into the surveillance state while recalling being subjected to government investigations, legal pressures, and threats from foreign agencies determined to steal his files. Readers will be drawn into the conversational style of [Dark Mirror]." - Booklist

"Gellman effectively details the scope and ambition of the NSA, and has written a well-documented account on the far-reaching impact of U.S. domestic surveillance and the resulting intrusions of privacy; highly recommended both for general readers and those with an interest in national security." - Library Journal

"Partly a thriller about reporting the secrets the US government hoped to keep, partly a deeper exposé about the vast power the surveillance state built to pierce Americans' privacy with a few keystrokes, Dark Mirror is a riveting page-turner that captures the danger and drama of the most important leak of classified material in generations. I lived part of this story in real time and am amazed at how many startling things I learned in these pages." - Carol Leonnig, three-time Pulitzer winner and bestselling author of A Very Stable Genius

"Bart Gellman is that rare combination of a tenacious reporter, a clear explicator of the most complex subjects, and a first-rate storyteller, all rolled into one...this book is a deep exploration of a surveillance apparatus of unimaginable magnitude, a chronicle of Gellman's intense and sometimes fraught relationship with his enigmatic and controversial source, Edward Snowden, and an intimate, disarmingly candid reporter's notebook about what it's like to spend years watching the watchers, and realizing, along the way, that they are watching you back." - Patrick Radden Keefe, New York Times bestselling author of Say Nothing: A True Story of Murder and Memory in Northern Ireland

"Gellman offers a riveting and often surprising account of his dealings with Snowden, who, for all his seeming idealism, also misdirected Gellman about some key facts. But whatever Snowden's defects, the scope of the NSA global snooping campaign he revealed is more shocking than ever, as Gellman pieces together the puzzle. If you want to understand how intelligence works in the 21st century, Dark Mirror is a must." - David Ignatius, columnist for the Washington Post and author of The Paladin

This information about Dark Mirror shown above was first featured in "The BookBrowse Review" - BookBrowse's membership magazine, and in our weekly "Publishing This Week" newsletter. In most cases, the reviews are necessarily limited to those that were available to us ahead of publication. If you are the publisher or author and feel that the reviews shown do not properly reflect the range of media opinion now available, please send us a message with the mainstream media reviews that you would like to see added.

Any "Author Information" displayed below reflects the author's biography at the time this particular book was published.

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Author Information

Barton Gellman

Barton Gellman is a Pulitzer Prize and Emmy Award-winning journalist. Since 2013 he has been a senior fellow at the Century Foundation. During 21 years at the Washington Post he served tours as legal, military, diplomatic, and foreign correspondent. He has taught courses at Princeton on nonfiction writing, investigative reporting and national security secrecy. His bestselling Angler: The Cheney Vice Presidency won the Los Angeles Times Book Prize and was a New York Times Best Book of 2008.

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