Secrets: A Memoir of Vietnam and the Pentagon Papers
By Daniel Ellsberg
Why this book?
Arguably the most famous national security whistleblower in U.S. history, Daniel Ellsberg became a household name for releasing the Pentagon Papers, a top-secret military study of the Vietnam War, in 1971. Secrets is a fascinating account of how a quintessential Washington insider became the archetypal outsider and, as a result, faced the prospect of decades in prison for passing national security information to the press in the public interest. Ellsberg’s story reveals how the decision to “blow the whistle” is often long and fraught, while knowing the wrath of the state that awaits. A series of plot twists gives a sense of intrigue and suspense to the outcome of the case. Widely considered a principled whistleblower today, Ellsberg’s fate could have been dramatically different and had important legacies for whistleblowing and press freedom.
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