Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Most Dangerous

I love non-fiction, but it is a rare event that I can't stop reading a non-fiction book.  Most Dangerous: Daniel Ellsberg and the Secret History of the Vietnam War by Steve Sheinkin is the exception to that rule.  I started reading Most Dangerous over the weekend and was entirely unproductive until I turned the last page of this book.

Marketed as a young adult book, this book was totally fascinating to me as an adult, and my husband is now enjoying it as well.  

Sheinkin is a master of making non-fiction books come to life.  His book Bomb:The Race to Build- and Steal- The World's Most Dangerous Weapon has received many awards.  Most Dangerous is a book of that caliber.  

Daniel Ellsberg is a name that was new to me.  However, as soon as I was done reading I called my mother, who recognized his name but no longer remembered the specifics of his role in Vietnam.

My brief summary will not do justice to this book, but Sheinkin very easily breaks down what led to the war and the United States' role in it, and to Ellsberg's role in the war.  At first Ellsberg supports the war, but after traveling to Vietnam and seeing the devastation done to innocent citizens his stance changes.  His connections in Washington allow him access to highly confidential documents- and after he reads them he is even more certain of the need to end the war in Vietnam.

Ellsberg also believes American citizens have a right to know what their government has been hiding.  But sharing the documents is against the law, and may eventually lead to Ellsberg's arrest.

Sheinkin was able to create suspense as to how this story will end, despite the fact that the ending already occurred several decades ago.  I found myself racing to the end as quickly as I could.

Aside from my husband, I have several friends I've raved to about this book as well as the high school history teacher at my daughters' school.  Most Dangerous is non-fiction at its very best.  

1 comment:

Anne Bennett said...

I am going to have to give this book a second effort. I started it but my heart wasn't in to it as I was thinking MOCK PRINTZ and didn't think I would add it to our list mainly because of the size and weight of the thing. I only got 25 pages in or so. I will go back and give it a better effort soon.