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Shadow Government: Surveillance, Secret Wars, and a Global Security State in a Single-Superpower World

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In 1964, a book entitled The Invisible Government shocked Americans with its revelations of a growing world of intelligence agencies playing fast and loose around the planet, a secret government lodged inside the one they knew that even the president didn't fully control. Almost half a century later, everything about that "invisible government" has grown vastly larger, mor In 1964, a book entitled The Invisible Government shocked Americans with its revelations of a growing world of intelligence agencies playing fast and loose around the planet, a secret government lodged inside the one they knew that even the president didn't fully control. Almost half a century later, everything about that "invisible government" has grown vastly larger, more disturbing, and far more visible. In his new book, Tom Engelhardt takes in something new under the sun: what is no longer, as in the 1960s, a national security state, but a global security one, fighting secret wars that have turned the president into an assassin-in-chief. Shadow Government offers a powerful survey of a democracy of the wealthy that your grandparents wouldn't have recognized.


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In 1964, a book entitled The Invisible Government shocked Americans with its revelations of a growing world of intelligence agencies playing fast and loose around the planet, a secret government lodged inside the one they knew that even the president didn't fully control. Almost half a century later, everything about that "invisible government" has grown vastly larger, mor In 1964, a book entitled The Invisible Government shocked Americans with its revelations of a growing world of intelligence agencies playing fast and loose around the planet, a secret government lodged inside the one they knew that even the president didn't fully control. Almost half a century later, everything about that "invisible government" has grown vastly larger, more disturbing, and far more visible. In his new book, Tom Engelhardt takes in something new under the sun: what is no longer, as in the 1960s, a national security state, but a global security one, fighting secret wars that have turned the president into an assassin-in-chief. Shadow Government offers a powerful survey of a democracy of the wealthy that your grandparents wouldn't have recognized.

30 review for Shadow Government: Surveillance, Secret Wars, and a Global Security State in a Single-Superpower World

  1. 4 out of 5

    Laurel Ferguson

    Secrets of people in power. For me this book was an eye opener to the workings of how people are securing their overall wellbeing and peace of mind In an ever changing world. I have to wonder why we have to eliminate people with drones and strike forces. Anyways the book gets me thinking and wondering if it is really legal and so on and so forth.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Piker7977

    Tom Engelhardt's Shadow Government: Surveillance, Secret Wars, and a Global Security State in a Single-Superpower World highlights some of the main concerns of America's 21st Century foreign policy. Rather than a history about the war on terror or a treatise on new revelations, Shadow Government is a summation and retelling of topics already covered by Jeremy Scahill, Gore Vidal, Mark Mazzetti, Rachael Maddow, and others. This short book is a good source for those seeking an understanding of the Tom Engelhardt's Shadow Government: Surveillance, Secret Wars, and a Global Security State in a Single-Superpower World highlights some of the main concerns of America's 21st Century foreign policy. Rather than a history about the war on terror or a treatise on new revelations, Shadow Government is a summation and retelling of topics already covered by Jeremy Scahill, Gore Vidal, Mark Mazzetti, Rachael Maddow, and others. This short book is a good source for those seeking an understanding of the problems facing America's War of Terror or those looking for a counter to mainstream news sources. Engelhardt's work would be a good conversation piece for a discussion or seminar on the role of government in modern times. However, the lack of citations and sources make this study unoriginal for those already versed in the subject and untrustworthy for those whom are not. A narrative structure is lacking and, as many other reviewers have pointed out, the book becomes a disjointed series of rants. While some of the chapters work well, others come off as looney and snide. The high levels of sarcasm make some of the sections very annoying and are difficult to take seriously. Shadow Government is a good source for those unacquainted with the subject. It will be a rehash for others. Engelhardt's study should be treated like a subjective Wikipedia page. Use it as a starting point and then proceed with your own research.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Tom

    Well-written, but a bit disappointing since Engelhardt doesn't cover new ground or report new information on the degree to which our government spies on us and has decided to take on the rest of the world in an endless war. Still, Engelhardt makes some good points: despite the untold billions of dollars the U.S. has spent on military endeavors in the past 30 years, we have yet to win a war--unless you count Panama and Grenada. Everything else has been a stalemate or has found us leaving, exhaust Well-written, but a bit disappointing since Engelhardt doesn't cover new ground or report new information on the degree to which our government spies on us and has decided to take on the rest of the world in an endless war. Still, Engelhardt makes some good points: despite the untold billions of dollars the U.S. has spent on military endeavors in the past 30 years, we have yet to win a war--unless you count Panama and Grenada. Everything else has been a stalemate or has found us leaving, exhausted. In other words, we've spent obscene amounts of money on making the world less safe than it is now, by stirring up antipathies, some of which didn't exist until we went places we really had no purpose in going to. . . The NSA, CIA, FBI, etc., are amassing enormous amounts of data on *everybody*, yet they lack the skill to see the big picture an notice any trends--that is, they have singularly failed to make U.S. citizens any safer than before 9/11. And the government--regardless of Republican or Democratic administration--refuses to learn from past mistakes.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Mark

    I sometimes read tomdispatch.com and respect (and virtually always agree with) Tom's well-considered opinions. The same is true for this book. I found myself thinking along the lines of "oh, yes, I've thought that myself" quite often. I did expect this to be more in-depth in terms of reading about specific behind-the-scenes accounts of what we publicly see in the media every day. That wasn't there. The book didn't really reveal anything I didn't already know. This is more of a book-length essay, I sometimes read tomdispatch.com and respect (and virtually always agree with) Tom's well-considered opinions. The same is true for this book. I found myself thinking along the lines of "oh, yes, I've thought that myself" quite often. I did expect this to be more in-depth in terms of reading about specific behind-the-scenes accounts of what we publicly see in the media every day. That wasn't there. The book didn't really reveal anything I didn't already know. This is more of a book-length essay, and later it became clear it's an amalgam of articles over a period of years. That's definitely ok, but it often results in a skimming the surface of various issues. If I had known that this was not a work on its own I may not have read it. I tend to avoid collections of this sort since the focus seems to be at a broader overview level rather than a concise focus on the subject matter. For those who do not follow the shenanigans of the NSA, government, et. al., this is a great introduction.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Sean Estelle

    6 years after publishing, 2 years before the Trump era, the sense of outrage at the imperial presidency of Obama and the revelations of Edward Snowden and the ballooning security industry feels outdated - but it never should, and we should never let it be normalized, which is why a book like this is useful. “Of course, it’s harder these days to imagine a use for such a heroically solitary statement - not in an America in which spying and surveillance are boom businesses, and our latest potential 6 years after publishing, 2 years before the Trump era, the sense of outrage at the imperial presidency of Obama and the revelations of Edward Snowden and the ballooning security industry feels outdated - but it never should, and we should never let it be normalized, which is why a book like this is useful. “Of course, it’s harder these days to imagine a use for such a heroically solitary statement - not in an America in which spying and surveillance are boom businesses, and our latest potential Nathan Hales are tens of thousands of corporately hires and trained private intelligence contractors who often don’t get closer to the enemy than a computer terminal.”

  6. 5 out of 5

    Bill

    Very uninspiring. ..if you weren't aware of this already then you are un the dark. Not a great read a very repetitive. Very uninspiring. ..if you weren't aware of this already then you are un the dark. Not a great read a very repetitive.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Rob

    Very little in this book will be new to lefties (and especially not Engelhardt readers), but it's a nice overview of the current madness. Very little in this book will be new to lefties (and especially not Engelhardt readers), but it's a nice overview of the current madness.

  8. 4 out of 5

    James

    This book is a collection of Tom Engelhardt's articles published between 2011 and 2014. However, he and his editors did an excellent job of putting them into book form. I've read some of what Engelhardt has published on his website, TomDispatch.com, but I learned a lot from this compilation, even almost ten years after the earliest included essays were first published. If you read Tom Engelhardt's work or have an interest in the subject's covered in this book, there is much discussed that you ma This book is a collection of Tom Engelhardt's articles published between 2011 and 2014. However, he and his editors did an excellent job of putting them into book form. I've read some of what Engelhardt has published on his website, TomDispatch.com, but I learned a lot from this compilation, even almost ten years after the earliest included essays were first published. If you read Tom Engelhardt's work or have an interest in the subject's covered in this book, there is much discussed that you may already know. However, the book is topical and relevant even today and I highly recommend it.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Anatolikon

    Solid and well-rounded, but also rather shallow. A bit curious, too, that Engelhardt doesn't really discuss the Snowden revelations themselves, but only their implications. Some details could have gone a long way towards expanding on the implications. Solid and well-rounded, but also rather shallow. A bit curious, too, that Engelhardt doesn't really discuss the Snowden revelations themselves, but only their implications. Some details could have gone a long way towards expanding on the implications.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Bacem

    Essential

  11. 5 out of 5

    Malik

    Initially a very analytical at the dark side of American domestic relations as well as foreign policy--gets repetitive towards the end.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Charlie Lorentz

    Not a lot of new information.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Pabgo

    Good stuff. Not much in there that I had not seen before. More ranting than substance.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Chris

  15. 4 out of 5

    Jay D

  16. 4 out of 5

    shafi jourabchi

  17. 4 out of 5

    Vivian Gibbons

  18. 4 out of 5

    Gunrunnerva

  19. 5 out of 5

    Mr Davidson John Baron

  20. 4 out of 5

    Ed

  21. 5 out of 5

    Nate Boroyan

  22. 5 out of 5

    Bryan Borich

  23. 5 out of 5

    Rick Strength

  24. 5 out of 5

    Jaime

  25. 4 out of 5

    Monique

  26. 4 out of 5

    Joey

  27. 4 out of 5

    Dr Who

  28. 4 out of 5

    Jessica Cannon

  29. 5 out of 5

    Devogenes

  30. 4 out of 5

    Nightocelot

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