Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Open Secrets: WikiLeaks, War and American Diplomacy by the Staff of the New York Times

Open Secrets: WikiLeaks, War and American Diplomacy

An astonishing collection of articles, cables, photos, and references to the Wikileaks cable dump of U.S. secrets, all hyperlinked for easy navigation in an ebook format. I wasn't able to keep up with the wiki-secrets when they came out, but time has shown the extraordinary impact they have had on foreign affairs and inter-country relations. The NYT magazine cover article for January 26, 2011 gives an abridged version of the introduction to Open Secrets but it is the referenced material that makes this such a great volume. Finally I get to see the cables that everyone talked about, without searching them out for myself. Novelists and reporters are going to be using the source materials shown here for many years, I expect.

What I especially liked is hearing what the editors and reporters at the NYTimes thought when they were landed with the opportunity to print U.S. government secrets, what they did, and how they proceeded, given the extraordinary circumstances: two wars, an unstable (possibly unhinged) source, and the inflammatory nature of the documents themselves.

Finally we have an ebook worthy of the name. Material is hyperlinked forward and backward, so checking cable sources and references is relatively easy. At least two videos (of U.S. helicopters firing on a crowd and a building in Baghdad in 2007), full and edited verison, are embedded with links. The best way to read this would be on a computer, but I used a NOOKcolor and it worked well (no video, alas). I might remind those of you interested in having this ebook stored on your computer that the software to read this is free and a quick and easy download from the site.

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