Little Brother" by Cory Doctorow. That book changed me.
It changed the way I think about a lot of things. It changed the way I think about security, privacy, the Department of Homeland Security, Civil Liberty and Freedom of Speech. It also reminded me that freedom isn't free!
How could it do all of that?
The books is extremely well written. It is exciting. It is believable. It is just engrossing. The events in the book could absolutely happen tomorrow and they are as terrifying as anything I have ever read!
The plot, in a nutshell (no spoilers) is that terrorists attack San Francisco and in the resulting aftermath, the citizens of San Fran end up losing a lot of their civil liberties under the guise of "protection" and "security". In the book, it is very clear how the world could get caught up in being "safe" and end up attacking civil liberties in the process.
I learned a lot from the book too. I learned a lot about cryptology, security, the history of some radical movements, but mainly I learned that I am a bit too complacent about invasion of privacy and removal of freedoms such as free speech.
I have told myself that a little invasion of privacy is no big deal, because I have nothing to hide. I act normal. If, however, normal suddenly became suspect, I wouldn't like it very much. I guess I'm saying that I like the freedom to act a little out of the norm occasionally.
I think Cory has just the right mix here. Good writing, great characters and a subject he is both passionate and knowledgeable about!
So, anyway I highly recommend "Little Brother". It might open our eyes about some things. It should, at the very least, make you think. And the worst case scenario? You read a really good book with a cool plot and a very likable hero.
Best of all, if you don't want to support Cory or you can't swing the change, you can download the book for free.
You can't lose.