WikiLeaks: Inside Julian Assange's War on Secrecy by David Leigh
Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “WikiLeaks: Inside Julian Assange's War on Secrecy” as Want to Read:
WikiLeaks: Inside Julian Assange's War on Secrecy
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

WikiLeaks: Inside Julian Assange's War on Secrecy

3.48  ·  Rating details ·  1,137 ratings  ·  124 reviews
A team of journalists with unparalleled inside access provides the first full, in-depth account of WikiLeaks, its founder Julian Assange, and the ethical, legal, and political controversies it has both uncovered and provoked.
Paperback, 352 pages
Published February 15th 2011 by PublicAffairs (first published 2011)
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about WikiLeaks, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about WikiLeaks

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 3.48  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,137 ratings  ·  124 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of WikiLeaks: Inside Julian Assange's War on Secrecy
Peter Miller
Feb 11, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I'm not telling you what I think of this book, because it's a secret. However, it really was a Lady Gaga CD. Allegedly. ...more
Mar 04, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

"Often the best source of information about waste, fraud, and abuse in government is an existing government employee committed to public integrity and willing to speak out. Such acts of courage and patriotism, which can sometimes save lives and often save taxpayer dollars, should be encouraged rather than stifled. We need to empower federal employees as watchdogs of wrongdoing and partners in performance. Barack Obama will strengthen whistleblower laws to protect federal workers who expose waste
Mar 30, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
An interesting look inside WikiLeaks and the main players of that movement. Well worth the few bucks I paid for it.
Xing Chen
May 21, 2014 rated it really liked it
Sharp, systematic, chronological narrative that focuses on the effects of WikiLeaks’ whistleblowing activities, from a global political perspective. Much space devoted to succinct descriptions of the leaked documents and their impact on international relations and government policy. Written from a relatively detached "outsider’s" point of view and based on verifiable information, with little of the sensationalized personality profiling and gratuitous speculation that afflicts many biographies- l ...more
Mar 09, 2011 rated it really liked it
This very well written book from the Guardian journalists who worked with WikiLeaks to break the story gives a lot of interesting backstory to the cables, the alleged leaker Bradley Manning (who so far has been the real innocent victim of all this - a disillusioned kid from the bible belt who only joined the Army to please a father who disowned him after he revealed he was gay) and of course Julian Assange (who comes out of this a much more human creature, full of foibles - such as the 'Aussie c ...more
May 06, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: nonfiction
I couldn't put this down. A fascinating expose by London Guardian reporters into Assange's personality and the process of releasing the Afghanistan, Iraq, and diplomatic logs to the public. Goes into great detail about the Swedish rape charges. ...more
The book gives a good overview of the Wikileaks situation to date. Its more of a blatant attempt bythe Guardian to cash in on the Julian Assange drama one feels, rather than an attempt to give a heretofore unseen side of the Wikileaks story.

Most of the book deals with the documented story of Wikileaks, only more analytically and with a level of perspective that has built up over the ensuing months. It also takes a bit of a dim view of Assange himself and one can sense a clear vein of arrogance t
Divya Dutt
Oct 29, 2017 rated it really liked it
Read to find about the man who visioned Wikileaks. Clearly, he was brave to dare to do something of this degree and also a man of white and black as he simply puts away that the leaking of informer's name is no big deal beacuse if they did it they have it coming to them. His motto may well have been- "Publish and be damned" ! ...more
Joy H.
Jan 16, 2015 marked it as watched-film-only  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction, politics
I watched the movie, "The Fifth Estate" via a DVD from our public library. The film was adapted from this book and some others (see below). I was mainly interested in seeing the actor Benedict Cumberbatch who played the part of Julian Assange.
IMDb page:

Below is a summary about the movie from my library catalog:
"Summary: WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange and his colleague Daniel Domscheit-Berg team up to become underground watchd
Jan 12, 2014 rated it it was ok
Chiefly, I think this book now suffers from being out-of-date; the story ends with Assange being released on bail pending his extradition hearing, and so obviously lacks anything about his subsequent flight to the Ecuadorean embassy, nor Manning's trial, sentencing and change of gender. It does, however, provide interesting insight into the lead-up to and background of the "biggest leak in history".
In particular, I would have been interested to see some commentary on the subsequent Snowden leak
Irene Niessen
Aug 23, 2013 rated it liked it
I started reading this book a few years ago and somehow never finished it. The whole Snowden affair made me want to pick it up again and I do not regret it. To start with, it is a nice piece of juicy journalism. More importantly, it shows us there is no such thing as a public secret. For me it is not so much the content of what is revealed by whistleblowers like Snowden and Assange that suprises me. It is the extent to what governments go through in order to keep it quiet. And it is so unnecessa ...more
Amador Cardenas
Sep 22, 2013 rated it really liked it
WikiLeaks is a very informative story about how the website WikiLeaks came to be a controversial site. His site included various videos and accounts from soldiers in Afghanistan, at the time, these videos being posted on Youtube were making front page news. Everybody found out about the civilian casualties in Afghanistan, its not all about our "Hero's".If you don't already know what WikiLeaks is then this will be an interesting story about the hacker who created it.

Julian Assange the man behin
Feb 02, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: politics, computer, kindle
This book written by editor and war correspondent in Guardian leading UK Newspaper. The style of writing bit close to spy novel rather than fact finding with such exciting characters and chronologies. I found it very helpful to explain the rise of Julian Assange from humble hacker into stardom of free information. It looks deeper to the core of democracy and secrecy. Do Government has a right to keep secret? Who has the accountability to public or even to the world?

Julian Assange undoubtedly be
Catherine White
Aug 16, 2013 rated it really liked it
Wikileaks: Inside Julian Assange's War on Secrecy is a first hand account into the Wikileaks release of the Afghanistan, Iraq, and diplomatic logs to the public.

Despite the bias of the journalists against Bradley Manning, it is an informed account of the relationship between Bradley Manning and Julian Assange; and The Guardian and Wikileaks.

The writers (who were the journalists in collaboration with Julian Assange) present themselves and The Guardian as moral guardians who educated Julian Assang
May 20, 2014 rated it really liked it
A fascinating and enjoyable read. I've read a bit about Assange and there is plenty more detail here to round out the portrait of this unusual and compelling individual. Alongside the story of the leaks and the individuals involved of course are the cables themselves. It really is fascinating to get a glimpse into the world of international diplomacy and what goes on inside the embassy and behind the bland smiles. The long appendices with some of the juicier and more interesting leaked cables ar ...more
Nov 20, 2016 rated it did not like it
Shelves: policy
This was an interesting read from the perspective of getting some background on Wikileaks and Julian Assange, but suffered significantly from the authors being far too close to the subject matter (in fact they often appear in the book, which treats them in the third person and is forever telling the reader how brilliant, hardworking and handsome they are). Occasionally they were critical of Wikileaks and Assange, but mostly they presented every criticism of the issue as some offense to journalis ...more
Feb 26, 2011 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
An interesting but not a riveting read.
Julian comes across as an intelligent man, driven by a fractured childhood. A gifted hacker who, by serendipitous circumstances crosses paths on the internet with a troubled young US Army private, who unbelievably had access to reams of sensitive military and diplomatic traffic.
This book, written under the auspices of The Guardian, gives us a shallow view of a silly imbroglio that by all rules of statecraft, should have never happened.
As is normal in today'
An interesting insight into the secretive world (no pun intended!) of WikiLeaks and especially of its founder, the enigmatic Julian Assange. This book gives some of the background story of Assange, his unusual upbringing and entry in the world of "hacktivism" in the 1990s and examines his motivation for seeking to make the secrets of the wealthy and powerful open to public scrutiny. The book also goes in to the connected story of Bradley (now Chelsea) Manning and why that young US soldier was wi ...more
Richard Thompson
Sep 03, 2011 rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
Assange is an interesting character. The WikiLeaks concept is a good one, but it seemed obvious that just dumping a lot of data onto the Net is not a useful thing; you need to sort and edit and analyze and then, arguably, the information is not longer "free".

Interestingly, the subject of information (freedom of and access to, cryptography, information and meaning, networks...) has been a major focus of three books (each of which I happened upon indepentently and an in a diffent context) that I h
Aug 28, 2012 rated it really liked it
Eminently readable account of Assange and the Wikileaks saga from the Guardian hacks who worked with him on the release of much of the leaked US material into the public domain. Assange is a divisive figure of course, but you may finish this feeling sorry for his helper, the US marine Bradley Manning. He can look forward to years in jail while the authors point out that State Department got over the disclosures remarkably quickly and even Assange has scored a book deal. The key US cables are at ...more
Mar 12, 2014 rated it really liked it
I would recommend this book to other people because for one it is written very well and also because it opened my understanding of of how the government keep so much secret even though it should be shared with the public. For instance i learnt after reading the book that a hacker by the name of Julian Asange had hacked information and gotten hold of military footage of an Apache Helicopter killing innocent civilians in Afgahnastan. Afterwards i searched it up on google and sure enough they defin ...more
Rob Bailey
Sep 01, 2012 rated it really liked it
A fascinating insight into the workings of WikiLeaks and the story which created the myth of Julian Assange. Written as part-biography, part-thriller, part-textbook it is an essential read for anyone interested in the future of investigative journalism and the power of citizen journalism on the internet. Yet it also reveals the naivety of Assange... how he struggled with the ethical questions raised by the leak of the diplomatic cables and his fraught relationship with traditional media. If he w ...more
Aug 09, 2011 rated it really liked it
Reads like a thriller suspense novel. But what was interesting is the collaborative journalism that was going on prior to the publication of the Afghan, Iraq and Embassy logs. That made for an interesting read. Reveals a lot about the dynamics and the inner-workings of top publications in the world. I would recommend it for media studies.
Aug 17, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Actually borrowed this book two weeks ago from the library, and I must indeed say the authors did a pretty good job in detailing us the life and works of this hacker-cum-journo-gone molester-gone celebrity, another reason to rally behind the man of the moment Julian Assange and the idea of free access of information! Keep it up the guardian veterans...
Elliot Richards
Jan 01, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A fascinating read, I thought it provided a balanced account of WikiLeaks, and of Assange as somewhat aloof, arrogant and gregarious. The back room accounts of international newspaper hand wringing was equally riveting to read. The included referenced cables in the appendix is a good finishing touch.
Oct 20, 2013 rated it really liked it
2013, updated edition

Dramatic, compelling and well written, but has 3 minor flaws: several chapters in the middle read like they have been written separately then merely cobbled together, rather than properly edited; the book seems to take an awkward stance on rape 'as the term is understood by many'; and, most seriously of all, Chelsea Manning is too often omitted from the narrative.
Apr 07, 2011 rated it liked it
Covers Wikileaks from the point of view of the Guardian. The story is split between Assange and Manning and mostly covers Wikileaks after they had approached the major newspapers. Daniel Domscheit-Berg's book is a much more interesting read. ...more
Justyn Rampa
Mar 01, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Some of the most engaging non-fiction I have ever read.

Cleverly constructed, informative, and challenging!

Highly recommended!
Mar 07, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Interesting, informative and probably the first in a long line of Wikileaks books that will come out in the near future.
Gabo A
Aug 04, 2013 rated it really liked it
This is an awesome book if you have no idea of the wikileaks story. If you do, you can catch some cool details.
« previous 1 3 4 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »

Readers also enjoyed

  • The Snowden Files: The Inside Story of the World's Most Wanted Man
  • Hate Inc.: Why Today's Media Makes Us Despise One Another
  • Home Land
  • The Anatomy of Fascism
  • The Rudest Book Ever
  • Eat the Buddha: Life and Death in a Tibetan Town
  • What Was She Thinking? [Notes on a Scandal]
  • Fear and Loathing on the Campaign Trail '72
  • A Maze of Death
  • Permanent Record
  • Twilight of Democracy: The Seductive Lure of Authoritarianism
  • REBEL GENE: Secret Space and the Future of Humanity
  • Penetration: Special Edition Updated: The Question of Extraterrestrial and Human Telepathy
  • Surviving Autocracy
  • A Very Expensive Poison: The Definitive Story of the Murder of Litvinenko and Russia's War with the West
  • Passing for Human: A Graphic Memoir
  • Make Yourself Unforgettable: How to Become the Person Everyone Remembers and No One Can Resist
See similar books…
See top shelves…

Related Articles

Happy Women's History Month! One of the undisputedly good things about modern scholarship is that women’s history is finally getting its due....
118 likes · 20 comments