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Please note: this book was written and published prior to Manning's identification as Chelsea.
Beginning in early 2010, Chelsea Manning leaked an astounding amount of classified information to the whistleblower website WikiLeaks: classified combat videos as well as tens of thousands of documents from the war in Afghanistan, hundreds of thousands from Iraq, and hundreds of thousands more from embassies around the globe. Almost all of WikiLeaks’s headline-making releases of information have come from one source, and one source only: Chelsea Manning.
Manning’s story is one of global significance, yet she remains an enigma. Now, for the first time, the full truth is told about a woman who, at the age of only twenty-two, changed the world.
Though the overarching narrative in media reports on Manning explain her leaks as motivated by the basest, most self-serving intentions, Private paints a far more nuanced, textured portrait of a woman haunted by demons and driven by hope, forced into an ethically fraught situation by a dysfunctional military bureaucracy. Relying on numerous conversations with those who know Manning best, this book displays how Manning’s precocious intellect provided fertile ground for her sense of her own intellectual and moral superiority. It relates how a bright kid from middle America signed on to serve her country and found herself serving a cause far more sinister. And it explains what it takes for a person to betray her orders and fellow troops—and her own future—in order to fulfill what she sees as a higher purpose.
Manning’s court-martial may be the military trial of the decade, if not the century. This book is a must-read for anyone who wants to understand the woman behind it all.
About the Author
Denver Nicks is a writer based in New York City. Originally from Oklahoma, he has developed a reputation for intrepid reporting in challenging contexts. Nicks has written about street art in Poland, a failed coup in the Philippines, post-coup Honduras, and the hidden working-class underbelly of Wall Street in the midst of the financial meltdown. A Fulbright Scholar, he holds a Master of Science from the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism. His work has appeared in The Daily Beast, AlterNet, The Nation, and other publications.
“In telling the story of how the intelligence analyst Chelsea Manning came into contact with the self-promoting anti-secrecy radical Julian Assange under the pressure cooker of the Iraq war, Denver Nicks has written a page-turner that reads like a cyberthriller. It’s simultaneously a coming-of-age story, a coming-out story, an X-ray of American culture in the Homeland Security era, a well-researched history of espionage, an exposé of the routinized cruelties of the 21st-century US military, and a meditation on the human costs of the cult of secrecy.” —Ned Sublette, author of The World that Made New Orleans
“WikiLeaks accomplice Chelsea Manning was a gay geek in the military at a time when ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ defined the war on all kinds of freedoms, not just sexual ones. Denver Nicks has given us a suspenseful, sensitively drawn account of righteous rage, vigilante justice, and the young woman who risked her future to make the truth known.” —James Gavin, author of Deep in a Dream: The Long Night of Chet Baker
“Chelsea Manning’s ordinary existence becomes extraordinary through the fine writing of Nicks. The conversations between Manning, her confidants, and others are expertly woven together in a way that propels this story along like a thrilling, suspense-filled novel.” —Randy L. Schmidt, author of Little Girl Blue: The Life of Karen Carpenter