Cover: The Listeners: A History of Wiretapping in the United States, from Harvard University PressCover: The Listeners in HARDCOVER

The Listeners

A History of Wiretapping in the United States

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Product Details


$35.00 • £28.95 • €31.50

ISBN 9780674249288

Publication Date: 02/15/2022

Academic Trade

368 pages

6-1/8 x 9-1/4 inches

30 photos


Listen carefully to this absorbing history of wiretapping and you’ll hear the tones of today’s surveillance society, a century and a half in the making. Brian Hochman’s splendid book reveals how a once-new technology embedded itself in American life, found novel uses, and shaped areas ranging from police tactics to privacy rights—illuminating in the process the consequences and costs of a networked world.—Sarah E. Igo, author of The Known Citizen: A History of Privacy in Modern America

Fast-paced, compulsively readable, artfully researched, and historically astute, The Listeners reminds us that Americans once cared about privacy—and that we should too.—Richard R. John, author of Network Nation: Inventing American Telecommunications

Hochman’s comprehensive and compelling narrative illustrates how the ‘dirty business’ of wiretapping has become a common and iconic feature of American life.—Cyrus Farivar, author of Habeas Data: Privacy vs. the Rise of Surveillance Tech

Brian Hochman’s deeply researched, eminently readable, and intensely timely book excavates the history of electronic surveillance from the telegraph to the planetary infrastructures and corporations that have become inextricable from everyday life. Along the way, he shows how widespread resistance to wiretapping may provide a guide to addressing some of the most urgent questions about the implications of living in a fully connected world.—Trevor Paglen

The Listeners: A History of Wiretapping in the United States weaves different kinds of history together in a single, compelling story about the rise of electronic surveillance, police secrecy, and technology. It’s a story about how electronic surveillance has become ordinary and acceptable: how the technology and the uses for the technology developed; then, how ordinary citizens understood and experienced the technology over time.—Claire Potter, author of Political Junkies: From Talk Radio to Twitter, How Alternative Media Hooked Us on Politics and Broke Our Democracy

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