Bound To Stay Bound

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Booklist - 08/01/2015 *Starred Review* Sheinkin—Newbery Honor winner for Bomb: The Race to Build—and Steal—the World’s Most Dangerous Weapon (2012)—tackles the tangled narrative of the Vietnam War in his latest book. Focusing on the life of Daniel Ellsberg, Sheinkin offers a fascinating portrait of a brilliant, idealistic man and his decision to leak the Pentagon Papers, revealing unsavory government secrets about America’s involvement in Vietnam. A product of the Cold War, Ellsberg was intrigued by questions of risk and crisis decision making, leading to his career as a think-tank analyst and eventual role as government whistle-blower. To create a broader backdrop for the narrative, Sheinkin includes stories of prisoners of war and White House machinations, though the POWs fall away by the end of the book as the secrets spiral beyond everyone’s control, even Ellsberg’s. Readers will not have much empathy for the government leaders as portrayed in this book, although Sheinkin does reveal a softer side to the otherwise ruthless Richard Nixon. Ellsberg’s time spent with patrols in Vietnam is particularly well written, relaying the palpable atmosphere of hopeless ambiguity that strongly influenced Ellsberg’s decisions. Sheinkin’s extensive research includes black-and-white period photographs and author interviews with Ellsberg and his wife. Most Dangerous is thorough and challenging, and readers are left to determine whether Ellsberg—and whistle-blowers in general—is a hero or a traitor. Powerful and thought-provoking. - Copyright 2015 Booklist.

School Library Journal - 09/01/2015 Gr 7 Up—In this thoroughly researched, thoughtfully produced, and beautifully written book, Sheinkin delves into the life of Daniel Ellsberg, former Pentagon consultant and a self-described "cold warrior," who gradually made an about-face with regard to America's presence in Vietnam. Ellsberg famously leaked the Pentagon Papers, a lengthy document written by military insiders about the Vietnam War, to various members of the press in 1971. He was quickly labeled an enemy of the state and a traitor to his country, aka the most dangerous man in America. With access to many of the key players in this real-life drama, as well as mountains of source material, Sheinkin builds a narrative that is at once accessible and suspenseful, with revelations and details coming at just the right moments. In Sheinkin's careful hands, Ellsberg and others, including Richard Nixon, Henry Kissinger, and Robert McNamara, are fully realized characters with strengths, flaws, and motivations that grow ever more clear as the story unfolds. Direct quotes, primary source documents, and archival photographs are peppered throughout, supplementing and complementing the text. Meticulous source notes indicate the level of research and time that the author has put into this particular work. With the news filled with stories about Edward Snowden and the NSA, Julian Assange and WikiLeaks, and privacy rights and government overreach, this brilliant work about an extraordinary whistle-blower taking a stand should be on everyone's reading list. VERDICT A timely and extraordinary addition to every library.—Jody Kopple, Shady Hill School, Cambridge, MA - Copyright 2015 Publishers Weekly, Library Journal and/or School Library Journal used with permission.

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