By Tom Engelhardt
October 27, 2014
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. This is a powerful survey of a democracy of the wealthy that your grandparents wouldn’t have recognized.
“In his regular, incisive, and often searing columns, Tom Engelhardt has uncovered layer after layer of deceit, fraud, and distortion to reveal to us harsh truths about power and its exercise that we must comprehend, and resist, and reverse, if there is to be any hope of decent survival. Shadow Government is essential reading.”
“Tom Engelhardt is an iconoclast, but he also is the latest exemplar of a great American tradition. Like George Seldes and I. F. Stone before him, he has bypassed conventionally minded newspapers and magazines, and with his remarkable website and in books like this, found a way of addressing readers directly about the issues central to our time. Again and again, he goes to the heart of the matter, drawing on his awesomely wide reading, his knowledge of history, and his acute political radar system that uncovers small but deeply revealing nuggets of news and often makes me feel, enviously: how could I have missed that?”
—Adam Hochschild, author, King Leopold’s Ghost: A Story of Greed, Terror and Heroism in Colonial Africa
“This is a book about secrets and surveillance, but I’m here to tell you one secret its contents won’t. For more than a dozen years, Tom Engelhardt and his website or blog or postnewspaper wire service Tomdispatch.comhave been one of the great forces on the side of clarity, democracy, openness, and really good writing. Tom himself, a legendary book editor, is also one of the country’s most eloquent and tenacious political writers, electronically publishing three essays a week for all these years and writing many of them himself. This collection, focused on the new Orwellianism, is some of the finest writing and finest public service gathered together in book form for your portable pleasure and outrage.”
—Rebecca Solnit, author, Men Explain Things to Me
“Tom Engelhardt’s writing on the new forms of government surveillance is crucial because he has spent a lifetime studying the rise of the national security state. He can therefore put the contemporary practices of the National Security Agency and the destruction of the Fourth Amendment in the context of the rise of a twenty-first-century Leviathan that he has chronicled for us for decades. As we arrive a few decades late at Orwell’s 1984, Tom Engelhardt is our anti-Winston Smith, writing the newspaper articles back into their original form and washing out the propaganda.”
—Juan Cole, author of The New Arabs, runs the Informed Comment website
About the author: TOM ENGELHARDT created and runs the TomDispatch.com website, a project of the Nation Institute, where he is a fellow. He is the author of The American Way of War and The United States of Fear, both published by Haymarket Books, a highly praised history of American triumphalism in the cold war, The End of Victory Culture, and a novel, The Last Days of Publishing. Many of his TomDispatch interviews were collected in Mission Unaccomplished: TomDispatch Interviews with American Iconoclasts and Dissenters. With Nick Turse, he has written Terminator Planet: The First History of Drone Warfare, 2001–2050. He also edited The World According to TomDispatch: America in the New Age of Empire, a collection of pieces from his site that functions as an alternative history of the mad Bush years. TomDispatch is the sideline that ate his life. Before that he worked as an editor at Pacific News Service in the early 1970s, and, these last four decades as an editor in book publishing. For fifteen years, he was senior editor at Pantheon Books, where he edited and published award-winning works ranging from Art Spiegelman’s Maus and John Dower’s War Without Mercy to Eduardo Galeano’s Memory of Fire trilogy. He is now Consulting Editor at Metropolitan Books, as well as the cofounder and coeditor of Metropolitan’s the American Empire Project, where he has published bestselling works by Chalmers Johnson, Andrew Bacevich, Noam Chomsky, and Nick Turse, among others. Many of the authors whose books he has edited and published over the years now write for TomDispatch.com. For a number of years, he was also a Teaching Fellow at the Graduate School of Journalism at the University of California, Berkeley. He is married to Nancy J. Garrity, a therapist, and has two children, Maggie and Will, and a grandchild, Charlie.