The battle lines are drawn: freedom of speech against the control of the State. The Internet is the battle ground. In this war there will only be one winner. In The Most Dangerous Man in the World, award-winning journalist Andrew Fowler talks to Julian Assange, his inner circle, and those disaffected by him, deftly revealing the story of how a man with a turbulent childhood and brilliance for computers created a phenomenon that has disrupted the worlds of both journalism and international politics. From Assange’s early skirmishes with the “cult” of Scientology in Australia to the release of 570,000 intercepts of pager messages sent on the day of the September 11th attacks and on to the visual bombshell of the Collateral Murder video showing American soldiers firing on civilians and Reuters reporters, Fowler takes us from the founding of WikiLeaks right up to Cablegate and the threat of further leaks in 2011 that he warns could bring down a major American bank. New information based on interviews conducted with Assange reveal the possibility that he has Asperger’s syndrome; the reason U.S. soldier Bradley Manning turned to an ex-hacker to spill military secrets; and how Assange helped police remove a “how to make a bomb” book from the Internet. The mother of one of his children also talks for the first time about life with Julian when he was setting up WikiLeaks.
According to the “Pentagon Papers” whistleblower Daniel Ellsberg, Julian Assange is “the most dangerous man in the world.” But just who is Julian Assange, and why is his quest for transparency and freedom of the press so dangerous in the eyes of his detractors? In a fascinating account that reads like a Tom Clancy thriller, Fowler reveals all—what it means, and why it matters. Like The Looming Tower on 9/11 or The Lords of Finance on the collapse of the US economy, The Most Dangerous Man in the World is the definitive, journalistic account of a massive global news event that’s changing the face of journalism and the way governments do business.
Fowler, an award-winning Australian reporter, draws on interviews he conducted in 2010 with Julian Assange and his associates to offer an intriguing if slight biography of the controversial and charismatic editor-in-chief of WikiLeaks. Beginning with Assange's nomadic childhood (he and his mother, Christine, traveled Australia with her puppetry company), Fowler takes readers through Assange's equally unconventional years as a computer hacker. The early days of WikiLeaks to the Cablegate releases are recounted briskly, but Fowler can offer only a muddled explication of the allegations of sexual misconduct against Assange. For all the book's momentum and the author's ability to set a scene, Assange is so guarded and defensive that he doesn't emerge clearly. Fowler does the best he can given his limited access, but his characterizations of Assange ("complex and mercurial") aren't especially revelatory. The book is at its best and most useful as a primer of WikiLeaks (and leaking in general) and the effect it has had on media and government rather than on its "fearless" progenitor.