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Most Dangerous

Daniel Ellsberg and the Secret History of the Vietnam War

This book can be downloaded and read in iBooks on your Mac or iOS device.


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.

This thoroughly-researched and documented book can be worked into multiple aspects of the common core curriculum.

From Publishers Weekly

Jul 13, 2015 – Sheinkin (The Port Chicago 50) has done again what he does so well: condense mountains of research into a concise, accessible, and riveting account of history. This time he focuses on the turbulent Vietnam War era, using as his lens Daniel Ellsberg, the leaker of the Pentagon Papers. Divided into three sections, the book's short chapters detail Ellsberg's transformation from U.S. Marine, government analyst, and "cold warrior" to antiwar activist and whistle-blower. Initial pages list nearly 100 characters central to the Ellsberg-Vietnam story, including politicians, reporters, military personnel, and Vietnamese officials. Each appears chronologically in the expansive narrative, which also traces how several U.S. presidents and their often-secretive policies led to the prolonged conflict in Southeast Asia. Chapters dealing with Ellsberg's clandestine leak of a top-secret government study of the war, as well as the Nixon White House's response, read like the stuff of spy novels and will keep readers racing forward. On the 40th anniversary of the evacuation of Saigon, the book's themes still resonate, as the epilogue about whistle-blower Edward Snowden points out. Ages 10 14.

Customer Reviews

Truth is crazier than fiction

I don’t usually get into nonfiction this much, but this was beyond interesting. Somehow I never knew about most of it. I felt amazed actually to be so clueless about a part of fairly recent American history. Some parts were really exciting like when he was on the run and getting parts of the classified documents printed. I just wonder if I would have been more into History when I was in school if I would have had to read something like this.

Daniel Ellsberg---an American Hero

Reminds one of a time when newspapers printed the truth and the American people cared about the truth.

Most Dangerous
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  • $9.99
  • Level: Grades 5-9
  • Available on iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, and Mac.
  • Category: History
  • Published: Sep 22, 2015
  • Publisher: Roaring Brook Press
  • Seller: Macmillan
  • Print Length: 208 Pages
  • Language: English
  • Requirements: To view this book, you must have an iOS device with iBooks 1.5 or later and iOS 4.3.3 or later, or a Mac with iBooks 1.0 or later and OS X 10.9 or later.

Customer Ratings