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Private: Bradley Manning, WikiLeaks, and the Biggest Exposure of Official Secrets in American History Hardcover – Jun 1 2012

3 out of 5 stars 1 customer review

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Chicago Review Press (June 1 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1613740689
  • ISBN-13: 978-1613740682
  • Product Dimensions: 15.2 x 2.3 x 22.9 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 544 g
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars 1 customer review
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #622,552 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description


“In telling the story of how the intelligence analyst Bradley Manning came into contact with the self-promoting anti-secrecy radical Julian Assange under the pressure cooker of the Iraq war, Denver Nicks has written a page-turner that reads like a cyberthriller. It’s simultaneously a coming-of-age story, a coming-out story, an X-ray of American culture in the Homeland Security era, a well-researched history of espionage, an exposé of the routinized cruelties of the 21st-century US military, and a meditation on the human costs of the cult of secrecy.” —Ned Sublette, author of The World that Made New Orleans

“WikiLeaks accomplice Brad Manning was a gay geek in the military at a time when ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ defined the war on all kinds of freedoms, not just sexual ones. Denver Nicks has given us a suspenseful, sensitively drawn account of righteous rage, vigilante justice, and the young man who risked his future to make the truth known.” —James Gavin, author of Deep in a Dream: The Long Night of Chet Baker

“Brad Manning’s ordinary existence becomes extraordinary through the fine writing of Nicks. The conversations between Manning, his confidants, and others are expertly woven together in a way that propels this story along like a thrilling, suspense-filled novel.” —Randy L. Schmidt, author of Little Girl Blue: The Life of Karen Carpenter

About the Author

Denver Nicks is a writer based in New York City. Originally from Oklahoma, he has developed a reputation for intrepid reporting in challenging contexts. Nicks has written about street art in Poland, a failed coup in the Philippines, post-coup Honduras, and the hidden working-class underbelly of Wall Street in the midst of the financial meltdown. A Fulbright Scholar, he holds a Master of Science from the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism. His work has appeared in The Daily Beast, AlterNet, The Nation, and other publications.

Inside This Book

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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Back Cover
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This provided insight into Manning's life and impetus for releasing these documents, which paints him either as heroic or treasonous depending on the point of view of the reader. It only went so far though, just up to the point where he had asked for gender reassignment. An update would be welcomed, perhaps in the next edition? Manning is now known as 'Chelsea'. He was treated abominably in the military prison where he was first held and the book was worth it just for that account. It's chilling. If there were ever a woman in a man's body and a need for gender reassignment, this is it. I hope she has the surgery.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) HASH(0x9e13be04) out of 5 stars 14 reviews
17 of 17 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9ee6fbc4) out of 5 stars (can't out-clever the book's title) July 16 2012
By DanielWhittle - Published on
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
When I began reading Denver Nicks' account of the Bradley Manning/Wikileaks story, Private, I must admit, I knew little more of the actual story than somebody had leaked volumes of classified material to a website. I remember, at the time the events in the book were initially being reported on, having conflicting feelings on what could be considered either a national betrayal or a naïve step towards the revealing power of the truth. I found the debate fascinating. So, as most of us did, I forgot all about it sometime between the season finale of Modern Family and learning that the World Cup was in fact infested with vuvuzelas and not a massive swarm of bees.

The intro/prologue is a lost art. In most cases I've experienced, the intro is simply a poorly named Chapter 1. Sometimes though, it's a clever non-sequitur that gives away the book's ending. I was, however, totally hooked by the intro to Private. I mean, a courtroom trial setting that seemed to put my favourite parts of A Few Good Men and A Time To Kill onto the same page and then demands the question, "Who is Bradley Manning?"

Nicks pulls a nice Steinbeck via segmentation, balancing the personal minutiae of Bradley Manning with the greater and longer historied cultural landscape that made way for this chain of events. If you honestly interview most people, I'd wager you'll find a decent enough biography somewhere in the details. With Manning, the pieces are all there in dramatic fashion so it struck me as odd that the more I read, the more I found myself wanting to skip to the chapters about the hacker code of ethics and this digital Andy Warhol fellow, Julian Assange.

Nicks goes into great detail about the circumstance and life of Bradley Manning, the outsider in a small town, the emotionally damaged boy, the superiority/inferiority complexed individual, the gay enlistee in a DADT Army, and, to me, it ultimately doesn't matter. And that's important. Read the biographies of Kurt Cobain and John Lennon. These are two men who had well-documented histories of volatile, random, manic, aggrandizing and deprecating behavior but do we really care or remember them for that? We remember them not for who they were but for what they did.

After reading this even-handed account, I'm still not sure how I feel on the situation. The frustrating part of the book is that it feels like it ends when it's all really beginning but I guess those are the breaks when you're reading about present reality. The leaks are still ocurring and Manning is still on trial and we still don't have an ending. The only thing I am sure of is that we'll see Mr. Nicks' name somewhere in the producer/screenwriter credits of the movie when it comes out.
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9e2fec30) out of 5 stars Nicks brilliantly delivers the goods! July 23 2012
By MaxMaker - Published on
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This incredibly well researched body of work, detailing Manning, Assange, Wikileaks and the state of secrecy in America today reads more like a Tom Clancy novel than a piece of non-fiction!
15 of 18 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9f40be64) out of 5 stars Much greater than the facts it covers July 8 2012
By Ned Trace - Published on
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Brilliant book; well researched and well written. The story Nicks tells goes far beyond Bradley Manning and Julian Assange. He's tackling the whole question of secrecy in the information age and coming up with no easy answers. I guess I take two thoughts away with me: since 9/11 the US has devolved into a cult of government secrecy that best serves the power elite; and the crusaders who challenge this condition will never be the faultless heroes we would like. History is messy and confusing while it is being lived, and the best clarity we can hope for is knowing as much of the truth as we can.
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9e3144bc) out of 5 stars Vital Reading March 1 2013
By dale maharidge - Published on
Format: Hardcover
Denver Nicks takes us as much as possible into the mind of Private Manning to tell the human side of a story that is in the headlines. Left, right, center, we should be scared of what the U.S. Government is doing these days in the name of national security. If you like TomDispatch, the late Alexander Cockburn, or the work of documentary filmmaker Laura Poitras, you will love this book.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9e998ed0) out of 5 stars Not just about Wikileaks or Manning, but about America today May 23 2013
By Barry Whyte - Published on
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
In "Private," Denver Nicks gives us a necessary reminder of precisely what has happened to Bradley Manning since his leaking of the largest cache of military documents in U.S. history. In reading it, apart from being shocked at the full extent of Manning's treatment, you constantly ask yourself why this isn't a bigger story - why Julian Assange dominates the headlines rather than Bradley Manning.

But the most important part of this book is not the how -- it's the why. Nicks sketches out Manning's world, his development as a person, and the entirely understandable impulses that convinced him that the only option was to release these documents to the public.

It's a deft portrait of a human being -- but an even more important document of what has happened to that human being in this period of American history in which secrecy and paranoia are the dominant official impulses.