Permanent Record: How One Man Exposed the Truth about Government Spying and Digital Security

Holt. Feb. 2021. 256p. Tr $19.99. ISBN 9781250767912.
Gr 9 Up–In 2013, CIA contractor Edward Snowden (b. 1983), a white American, fled the country after copying and leaking classified National Security Agency data on global surveillance. Snowden, who was charged with espionage by the U.S. government, currently remains exiled in Moscow, Russia. In the preface, Snowden adopts a conversational tone and language appropriate for young readers to unpack why he became a whistleblower. The text describes his childhood both in North Carolina and near Fort Meade in Maryland where both of his parents worked. Students who don’t like the monotony of school will enjoy Snowden’s stories about being bored in the classroom and not feeling challenged by curricula or teachers. As the memoir progresses, Snowden discusses his post-secondary education, military service, and first jobs while seamlessly defining terms and explaining relevant network technology. Reviews of the adult trade edition describe the book as part memoir, part fictional thriller—those elements are definitely part of this adaptation. The short chapters are suspenseful. Snowden shares in meticulous detail how he copied, stored, and transported the classified data all while in fear of detection and arrest.
VERDICT A fascinating look behind the scenes of real-life espionage. Recommended for high school and public libraries.

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