The Snowden Files

  • by Luke Harding
  • Narrated by Nicholas Guy Smith
  • 10 hrs and 11 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

It began with a tantalizing, anonymous email: "I am a senior member of the intelligence community."
What followed was the most spectacular intelligence breach ever, brought about by one extraordinary man. Edward Snowden was a 29-year-old computer genius working for the National Security Agency when he shocked the world by exposing the near-universal mass surveillance programs of the United States government. His whistleblowing has shaken the leaders of nations worldwide, and generated a passionate public debate on the dangers of global monitoring and the threat to individual privacy.
In a tour de force of investigative journalism that reads like a spy novel, award-winning Guardian reporter Luke Harding tells Snowden's astonishing story - from the day he left his glamorous girlfriend in Honolulu carrying a hard drive full of secrets, to the weeks of his secret-spilling in Hong Kong, to his battle for asylum and his exile in Moscow. For the first time, Harding brings together the many sources and strands of the story - touching on everything from concerns about domestic spying to the complicity of the tech sector - while also placing us in the room with Edward Snowden himself. The result is a gripping insider narrative - and a necessary and timely account of what is at stake for all of us in the new digital age.


What the Critics Say

"Reads like a le Carré novel crossed with something by Kafka.... A fast-paced, almost novelistic narrative.... [The book] gives readers... a succinct overview of the momentous events of the past year.... Leave[s] readers with an acute understanding of the serious issues involved." (Michiko Kakutani, The New York Times)
"[Snowden's] story is one of the most compelling in the history of American espionage.... The Snowden Files, by Luke Harding, a correspondent for the Guardian newspaper, which broke the initial Snowden story, is the first to assemble the sequence of events in a single volume. The book captures the drama of Snowden’s operation in often-cinematic detail.... Harding has delivered a clearly written and captivating account of the Snowden leaks and their aftermath." (The Washington Post)
"Engaging and lucid.... A gripping read.... Harding is a gifted writer.... The strength of Harding's book is its ability to bring Snowden's story to life while elucidating the contours of a much larger set of issues.... In rendering the complicated comprehensible in an entertaining way, Harding's book provides an important public service."(San Francisco Chronicle)


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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

we are all being scrutinized

The biggest takeaway with this book is that the virtual world is not governed by the Constitution, so Obama and Bush don't care about your privacy. The major software companies, Apple being one of the last, gave back door access to the NSA. It is all legal in their minds. In today's news we see China complaining about this back door access. You can bet that the entire G-20 wants to protect their little fraternity. Whatever we think we have these guys have something that can probably read minds by now. Maybe we will all become some sort of cyber zombies? I pound into this iPad 5 hours a day with endless drivel. It is reshaping my thinking. The machines really are too much. You are not anonymous, so don't ever feel that way. Big Brother is watching. Down with Big Brother. Power to the people!
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- matthew "I am an English teacher in China and can now read and write some Chinese.I have been to 13 countries on 4 continents.I am an avid audiophile"

This is not Black & White: Privacy vs Security

Where does The Snowden Files rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

Top 10

Who was your favorite character and why?

Edward Snowden is an enigmatic figure as described in this account. Should freedom-loving people empathize with the moral dilemma he faced whether to "out" the US and UK's extensive surveillance capabilities which clearly crossed the line beyond constitutional boundaries with respect to private citizens? At the same time, should we be asking how can he do this and align himself with manipulative nations and parties whose own history of human rights abuses are far worse than those of this nation he supposedly loves? Was there a better, possibly more courageous way to make his case- and one that would not result in such terrible damage to the US? Ultimately, time and history will tell whether Edward Snowden acted as a patriot, or as a traitor. Some things that seem black and white are not always so simple.

Which scene was your favorite?

The description of how one single young man without a high school degree or extensive experience could be entrusted with such wide-ranging classified and top secret information. Stranger than fiction.

If you were to make a film of this book, what would the tag line be?

The Truth about Living in the Digital Age. Just as you always suspected: Everything you say and everything you write is being Recorded.

Any additional comments?

In an open society, there will always be crucial debates about the trade-offs between personal privacy and security. There will always be debates about whether the "ends" justify the "means" when it comes to security. These are among the most compelling and important topics of our day and age.

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- amazonman "I love to learn and share whatever excellence I discover in the process"

Book Details

  • Release Date: 10-21-2014
  • Publisher: Random House Audio