Homeland by Cory Doctorow Book Review

Homeland by Cory DoctorowHOMELAND by Cory Doctorow Book Review
Series: Little Brother, #2
Publication Date: February 5th 2013 by Tor Teen
Rating: – Acceptable |

Book Summary: In Cory Doctorow’s wildly successful Little Brother, young Marcus Yallow was arbitrarily detained and brutalized by the government in the wake of a terrorist attack on San Francisco—an experience that led him to become a leader of the whole movement of technologically clued-in teenagers, fighting back against the tyrannical security state.

A few years later, California’s economy collapses, but Marcus’s hacktivist past lands him a job as webmaster for a crusading politician who promises reform. Soon his former nemesis Masha emerges from the political underground to gift him with a thumbdrive containing a Wikileaks-style cable-dump of hard evidence of corporate and governmental perfidy. It’s incendiary stuff—and if Masha goes missing, Marcus is supposed to release it to the world. Then Marcus sees Masha being kidnapped by the same government agents who detained and tortured Marcus years earlier.

Marcus can leak the archive Masha gave him—but he can’t admit to being the leaker, because that will cost his employer the election. He’s surrounded by friends who remember what he did a few years ago and regard him as a hacker hero. He can’t even attend a demonstration without being dragged onstage and handed a mike. He’s not at all sure that just dumping the archive onto the Internet, before he’s gone through its millions of words, is the right thing to do.

Meanwhile, people are beginning to shadow him, people who look like they’re used to inflicting pain until they get the answers they want.

Fast-moving, passionate, and as current as next week, Homeland is every bit the equal of Little Brother—a paean to activism, to courage, to the drive to make the world a better place.

Homeland by Cory Doctorow Book Review Overview:

  • Super nerdy book full of Internet factoids and cameos from famous Internet pioneers
  • The book is long and didactic and almost preachy
  • Inspires me to fight for my rights on the Internet

I listened to the audiobook version of HOMELAND by Cory Doctorow after really enjoying the first book, Little Brother. The book in general is super nerdy, full of Internet factoids, and even some cameos from pioneers of the Internet. (For the record, I knew none of them and had to Wikipedia to double check that they were in fact Real People.) But as much as I wanted to really enjoy HOMELAND, I found the book a little too didactic and wanted a speedier plot.

Overall, I felt that the book was way too long, and it could have been trimmed down in multiple places. The book becomes super didactic at times, and it slows down the pacing of the plot. Doctorow takes time to explain how A LOT of these new technologies work. Some of it is really interesting information, but after a while, it is an overload of information. For people who already don’t know how hacking / information-gathering technologies work, you will want to have to learn about this stuff or you’ll find that it sounds almost like a textbook. I also think that this may be super boring to people who are really computer-literate and up to date with technology. Marcus rambles on for long passages, and sometimes, I forget what his point was to begin with.

Honestly, I thought this would have been some really informative and entertaining reading material for one of my media classes back in college, but because I was reading it for pure entertainment, it was a little too heavy.

I do like how Homeland closely reflects modern day politics, such as the Occupy movement, WikiLeaks, and the NSA. HOMELAND by Cory Doctorow basically exposes the worst-case scenario and just how far technology can really go in terms of surveillance and breaching privacy. Doctorow examines the fine line between protecting the country against terrorism and violating the right to privacy.

HOMELAND is also quite preachy, but this was something I didn’t have a problem with because I pretty much agree with Cory Doctorow’s views. But for someone who might be learning about all of this information for the first time, it can lead to a very one-sided view.

It’s kind of inspiring to read HOMELAND, and it does make me think that I should be doing more to protect the Internet and our rights to privacy. Despite my qualms with the book’s length, HOMELAND leaves readers with a great message.

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