Most Dangerous

Steve Sheinkin
A 2015 National Book Award Finalist, reviewed in The Washington Post, as well as featured on the Publishers Weekly "Best Books of 2015" list. From Steve Sheinkin, the award-winning author of The Port Chicago 50 and Newbery Honor Book Bomb comes a tense, narrative nonfiction account of what the Times deemed "the greatest story of the century": how whistleblower Daniel Ellsberg transformed from obscure government analyst into "the most dangerous man in America," and risked everything to expose a government conspiracy. On June 13, 1971, the front page of the New York Times announced the existence of a 7,000-page collection of documents containing a secret history of the Vietnam War. Known as The Pentagon Papers, these files had been commissioned by Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara. Chronicling every action the government had taken in the Vietnam War, including an attempt by Nixon to foil peace talks, these papers revealed a pattern of deception spanning over twenty years and four presidencies, and forever changed the relationship between American citizens and the politicians claiming to represent their interests. The investigation--and attempted government coverups--that followed will sound familiar to those who followed the scandal surrounding Edward Snowden. A provocative and political book that interrogates the meanings of patriotism, freedom, and integrity, Most Dangerous further establishes Steve Sheinkin as a leader in children's nonfiction.


Reviewed: 2019-03-21

[audiobook review] This informational book, part biography part social history takes the reader through the professional life of Daniel Ellsberg. The unabridged audiobook was listened to through the app Libby by Overdrive. Performed by one reader, Ray Porter, the audiobook was of excellent sound quality. Though there were no additional effects, the reader made brilliant use of different speeds and tones of voice to differentiate speakers with consistency throughout the book. The backmatter of the audiobook was helpful in creating a modern sense for the story. Since this audiobook is directed towards a young adult audience, it is vital that young listeners be told why this story is important. The tie in with the Edward Snoden case at the end does that very well. I was engaged throughout the listening experience, thoroughly absorbed in the story. My feelings about audiobooks remain consistent. They are a handy way to supplement reading time, but I feel as though dense materials like social histories and biographies are better absorbed from a combination of audio and visual stimuli. I would not shy away from using an audiobook in the classroom, however I would have the students follow along with the text. Listening to the words will allow the students freedom of mind to fully absorb what is being discussed. They don't have to concentrate on getting the words right as they read and it can take a lot of pressure away from the situation. I also think that specifically in the case of this book that students would benefit from the use of both versions because the text offers: a cast of characters, photographs, a bibliography, and an index to further assist in the complete understanding of the material. I do think that this book would appeal to young readers in both formats and that audiobooks in general are a wonderful way to encourage reading.

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