The Edward Snowden saga is one of the most important stories of our times and Snowden himself a modern hero, despite his adversaries’ claims to the contrary. Luke Harding’s rendering of Snowden’s ordeal since his decision to become a whistleblower reads like a dystopian thriller. It’s George Orwell’s 1984 delayed by three decades, bigger in scope and horror.
Snowden risked his life to bring the worldwide mass surveillance authorised and conducted by so-called national security agencies in the US and the UK to the world’s attention. We live, he says, “under a sort of eye that sees everything, even when it’s not needed.” It is an assault on our most precious human rights. Harding’s book chronicles the timeline of Snowden’s revelations, their background, their consequences for all involved, and the global debate they sparked.
The Snowden Files: The Inside Story of the World’s Most Wanted Man
by Luke Harding
Guardian Books/Faber and Faber, 2014
First published in the Cape Times on 10 October 2014.