shadow government surveillance

“Actually, a Hydra conspiracy would be less disturbing”: a national security reading list

I did not deliberately set out to make my past few months’ nonfiction reading into a rec list for a more in-depth look at the political issues addressed in Captain America: The Winter Soldier. Honest. (Mostly honest. The Paperclip book might’ve caught my eye in part because of the shoutout in Cap 2.) But one of the reasons I fell in love with the movie was the great big middle finger it gave the American national-security complex… and then when I was tumbling ever further down the nonfiction rabbit hole and things started sounding eerily familiar, I realized, duh, the scriptwriters for TWS were probably reading a lot of the same books I was. 

I don’t make any claim that this is an exhaustive list. As noted, it’s a straight-up list of books I’ve picked up recently, so I have no doubt there are other relevant ones I’m missing. But it’s a pretty solid overview. So without further ado, I give you: the “Actually, a Hydra conspiracy would be less disturbing” national security reading list. 

  • Jane Mayer - The Dark Side: The Inside Story of How the War on Terror Turned Into a War on American Ideals
  • Tom Engelhardt - Shadow Government: Surveillance, Secret Wars, and a Global Security State in a Single-Superpower World.
  • Dana Priest and William Arkin - Top Secret America: The Rise of the New American Security State.
  • Annie Jacobsen - Operation Paperclip: The Secret Intelligence Program that Brought Nazi Scientists to America.

More detailed writeups and a bit of a rant under the read-more link. (Gist of the rant: The best and scariest thing about Cap 2 is that the most disturbing things about SHIELD/Hydra are 100% based in fact.)

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