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

67%

33 Critic Reviews

Mr Greenwald used to be a lawyer. He is very good at showing that much NSA activity was against the law; for example, the agency took raw data collected from Americans and secretly gave it to Israel. All too often, though, he proselytises rather than analyses.
-The Economist

Synopsis

The New York Times Bestseller

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 29-year-old NSA contractor and whistleblower Edward Snowden, and his revelations about the agency's widespread, systemic overreach proved to be some of the most explosive and consequential news in recent history, triggering a fierce debate over national security and information privacy. As the arguments rage on and the government considers various proposals for reform, it is clear that we have yet to see the full impact of Snowden's disclosures.

Now for the first time, Greenwald fits all the pieces together, recounting his high-intensity ten-day trip to Hong Kong, examining the broader implications of the surveillance detailed in his reporting for The Guardian, and revealing fresh information on the NSA's unprecedented abuse of power with never-before-seen documents entrusted to him by Snowden himself.
Going beyond NSA specifics, Greenwald also takes on the establishment media, excoriating their habitual avoidance of adversarial reporting on the government and their failure to serve the interests of the people. Finally, he asks what it means both for individuals and for a nation's political health when a government pries so invasively into the private lives of its citizens—and considers what safeguards and forms of oversight are necessary to protect democracy in the digital age. Coming at a landmark moment in American history, No Place to Hide is a fearless, incisive, and essential contribution to our understanding of the U.S. surveillance state.

 

About Glenn Greenwald

See more books from this Author
Glenn Greenwald is the author of the New York Times bestsellers How Would a Patriot Act? and A Tragic Legacy. Recently proclaimed one of the "25 Most Influential Political Commentators" by The Atlantic, Greenwald is a former constitutional law and civil rights attorney and a contributing writer at Salon. He lives in Brazil and New York City.
 
Published May 13, 2014 by Metropolitan Books. 302 pages
Genres: Political & Social Sciences, Computers & Technology, Law & Philosophy, Education & Reference, Professional & Technical. Non-fiction
Bestseller Status:
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Peak Rank on Jun 01 2014
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Critic reviews for No Place to Hide
All: 33 | Positive: 22 | Negative: 11

Publishers Weekly

Above average
on May 26 2014

Greenwald's great reporting highlights the collusion of government, corporations, and media to undermine notions of privacy and democratic participation.

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NY Times

Below average
Reviewed by Michael Kinsley on May 22 2014

...Greenwald seems to feel he is beyond having to defend himself...Greenwald’s determination to misinterpret the evidence can be comic.

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NY Times

Above average
Reviewed by MICHIKO KAKUTANI on May 12 2014

“No Place to Hide” is enlivened by reproductions of dozens of fascinating documents from the Snowden archive that help illustrate the N.S.A.’s methodology and that showcase its strange corporatelike boosterism...And Mr. Greenwald fleshes out his portrait of Mr. Snowden with fresh observations from their exchanges.

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Guardian

Good
Reviewed by Philippe Sands on May 23 2014

In response, revelations can be made, Greenwald's book published, and a Pulitzer prize awarded. Long may it go on.

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Guardian

Above average
Reviewed by Henry Porter on May 18 2014

Some of these characteristics made me wonder if his account of the Snowden affair would be one long harangue, but No Place to Hide is clearly written and compelling...I did feel the argument lost momentum in the middle, but on the whole this is a vigorously executed and important book.

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NY Journal of Books

Above average
Reviewed by Robert Schaefer on Jul 27 2014

Covering the first meeting of Glenn Greenwald with Kenneth Snowden and its aftermath, No Place to Hide reads like a spy novel, which it is, but a true one.

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WSJ online

Above average
Reviewed by Michael B. Mukasey on May 14 2014

The story in the book of Mr. Greenwald's contacts and conversations with Mr. Snowden and others may very well be true; I have no basis to question it. And Mr. Greenwald's political arguments are, of course, open to debate. But his portrait of the nature and goals of the NSA programs is simply false.

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Financial Times

Above average
Reviewed by Geoff Dyer on May 16 2014

In the end, Greenwald underplays the real media problem. The NSA is in many ways a product of the feverish ways in which terrorism is portrayed. The bomb at last year’s Boston marathon was a horrific event, killing four people, but it also produced dramatic overreaction.

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LA Times

Below average
Reviewed by David L. Ulin on Jun 25 2014

"No Place to Hide" is uneven; it doesn't really tell us anything we didn't know already, and Snowden himself disappears about 100 pages in. Still, and despite Greenwald's more self-important tendencies, the book is part of a necessary conversation about surveillance and privacy.

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Globe and Mail

Good
Reviewed by John Semley on May 13 2014

No Place to Hide is a persuasive, thrilling and necessary argument for shaking off this entitled boredom; for holding governments accountable, disentangling the knotty rat king of bureaucracy and pushing back against the rule by Nobody.

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The Economist

Below average
on May 17 2014

Mr Greenwald used to be a lawyer. He is very good at showing that much NSA activity was against the law; for example, the agency took raw data collected from Americans and secretly gave it to Israel. All too often, though, he proselytises rather than analyses.

Read Full Review of No Place to Hide: Edward Snow... | See more reviews from The Economist

Toronto Star

Good
Reviewed by Robert Collison on May 22 2014

Whether you think of him as a traitor, or a patriot, there’s no question that Snowden has put the dangers inherent in over-zealous state surveillance at the centre of the public conversation, globally.

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National Post arts

Above average
Reviewed by Jeet Heer on May 16 2014

Because of the vast dust-storm of accusations generated by Snowden’s revelations, Glenn Greenwald’s No Place to Hide is not a dispassionate rehearsal of the facts of the case. Rather, Greenwald’s book is a spiky and largely convincing...The power of this book is that it makes a persuasive case for why Greenwald came to trust Edward Snowden.

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The Washington Post

Below average
Reviewed by David cole on May 12 2014

...his book would have been more persuasive had he confronted what is difficult about the issue and not simply been satisfied with lobbing grenades at all who are less radical than he is.

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The Telegraph

Below average
Reviewed by Nicholas Blincoe on May 14 2014

Yet as important as this book is, Greenwald and Snowden make life difficult for potential friends. Both are motivated by an all-transcending faith in the founding principles of America, which they regard as an ongoing revolution against government. It leaves them unable to imagine that government might also be an inclusive institution.

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Christian Science Monitor

Below average
Reviewed by David Holahan on May 13 2014

A clear deficiency is the almost total lack of reporting on Snowden’s life, before or after his revelations shocked the world. The truth about him is undoubtedly more complex and interesting than the superficial whistleblower-in-shining-armor portrait that Greenwald conjures.

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Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Good
Reviewed by Dan Simpson on May 25 2014

If you need or want to understand the current “massive government surveillance” issue, it is very much worth reading...Mr. Greenwald not only writes about the subject from a well-informed point of view, he does so from having been in the middle of the process...

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Slate

Good
Reviewed by Emily Bazelon on May 13 2014

Last summer the journalist and the whistleblower took a huge and risky plunge together, along with Poitras and Gellman. Now Greenwald is coming up for air and, with this incisive, slashing book, reaping the benefits of being adventuresome, dogged—and, as far as the evidence shows, right.

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Chicago Tribune

Above average
Reviewed by Mark Guarino on May 13 2014

This is vital educational material for anyone interested in civil liberties; we witness a systematic effort designed to collect, store and search private information with exactitude...If anything, this book is an antidote to the common public perception that government spooks are only interested in "bad" people.

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Scotsman.com

Above average
Reviewed by Andrew Neather on May 25 2014

But then Greenwald isn’t a man who brooks criticism. He is a former litigator, and it shows: there is no nuance or trace of humour in his writing. Everything is black and white...hat’s a shame, but certainly in exposing its extent, Greenwald and Snowden have done us all a service.

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Daily Kos

Above average
Reviewed by paradox on May 15 2014

The NSA out of control is the great underlying truth of No Place to Hide, although the meticulous record of how journalist Glenn Greenwald, through whistleblower Edward Snowden, never boldly comes out and says it. So completely unnecessary, the truth of constitutional mayhem shines through with every chapter.

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London Review of Books

Above average
Reviewed by Andrew O’Hagan on Sep 25 2014

Glenn Greenwald expresses his bafflement and the reader can share it...Greenwald isn’t that sort of writer and he quickly moves past his source to give the epic and interesting story behind the story, an argument about the surveillance state and Greenwald’s part in exposing it.

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The New American

Above average
Reviewed by Bob Adelmann on May 27 2014

His book is an important piece of history. It is perhaps the most important piece of history in the last 40 years. It will no doubt successfully continue the conversation about secrecy, privacy, and its guarantees found in the Fourth Amendment.

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The Sunday Times

Above average
Reviewed by Toby Harnden on May 18 2014

AT TIMES, this account by former Guardian writer Glenn Greenwald of how he landed one of the biggest scoops of the century — the leaking by a contractor from America’s National Security Agency, Edward Snowden,..feels like it has come straight out of the pages of a Robert Ludlum thriller.

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GQ magazine

Above average
Reviewed by Tom Cheshire on May 24 2014

Greenwald is a consummate journalist, but, boy, does he go on...It's called No Place To Hide, and promises to explain yet again, this time over 320 pages, that governments spy on their own people - like we ever thought they didn't.

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Truthout

Above average
Reviewed by Jonathan Franklin on May 14 2014

The most powerful sections of Greenwald's book are not the individual documents, but those that dwell on the connivance of corporate America...Whether Snowden has stopped the forces of surveillance, merely slowed them...as yet to be decided. In No Place to Hide, Glenn Greenwald makes a persuasive case that it is a battle that has engulfed us all.

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Business Day Online.

Above average
Reviewed by Opeyemi Agbaje on Sep 10 2014

Glenn Greenwald’s Book “No Place to Hide: Edward Snowden, the NSA and the US Surveillance State” reads like a blockbuster movie...The 260 page book details how Greenwald met Snowden; the crucial ten days in Hong Kong where they plotted the explosive release of highly sensitive US security material; the scope and depth of US surveillance...

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National Post arts

Above average
Reviewed by Jeet Heer on May 16 2014

Despite the problems with Greenwald’s lawyer-type arguments, No Place to Hide is an indispensable book for anyone who cares about the future of privacy, not just in the United States but throughout the world.

Read Full Review of No Place to Hide: Edward Snow... | See more reviews from National Post arts

Reading Reality

Good
Reviewed by Marlene Harris on Sep 11 2014

Two of the three parts of this book are a compelling read: the story of Snowden reaching out to Greenwald to arrange for the release of the documents and the story of the way that the media and the government handled the story after it broke reads like a spy thriller, except that it is a true story.

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Words Written Down

Above average
Reviewed by Dave on Aug 17 2014

I did find myself skimming the two middle chapters on data the NSA collected, but all in all, it struck me as a good read, especially for anyone interested in the role of government as well as that of journalism in our society.

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https://www.insidehighered.com

Good
Reviewed by Barbara Fister on Jul 07 2014

It’s a gripping read, starting with his own stumbling connection to an informant who insisted on security measures that seemed complex and burdensome for a story that might turn out to be a waste of time. (Incidentally, this chapter does a good job of showing why privacy, in the current climate, is a luxury few of us can afford.

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http://scienceblogs.com

Good
Reviewed by John Dupuis on Sep 30 2014

The story of Greenwald and Snowden orchestrating the leaks and convincing and getting agreement to publish is fascinating...I recommend this book without hesitation to all academic and pubic library collections, even high school libraries.

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http://www.wsws.org

Above average
Reviewed by Patrick Martin on May 30 2014

Greenwald provides a succinct summary of the colossal scale of the NSA’s efforts to monitor the electronic communications of the entire human race...No Place to Hide is a serious contribution to the public understanding of the Snowden revelations and the emergence of a police state apparatus in America. It deserves a wide audience.

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Reader Rating for No Place to Hide
89%

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