Wild Man: The Life and Times of Daniel Ellsberg

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9780230619791: Wild Man: The Life and Times of Daniel Ellsberg

On September 4, 1971, the office of Lewis Fielding, a psychiatrist practicing in Los Angeles, was broken into. It looked like a run of the mill drug raid. A month later, a homeless man was charged with burglary and the case was considered closed. On June 17, 1972, five men were charged with breaking and entering at the headquarters of the Democratic National Committee in the Watergate Hotel in Washington, D.C. With these two burglaries, one seemingly innocuous while the other was more serious because of the venue, the scandal known as Watergate was born. As the tale of Richard Nixon and his Plumbers began to unfold, it was discovered that one of Lewis Fielding's patients was Daniel Ellsberg, the man who released the Pentagon Papers to the New York Times . Ellsberg was high on Nixon's list of enemies and he vowed to destroy him at all costs. In Wild Man , Tom Wells explores the life of Daniel Ellsberg to discover what makes an individual enact the most severe breach of government security ever to occur in the United States. As Wells follows Ellsberg from his early days as a piano prodigy to his years of great promise at Harvard, we see the development of a volatile, narcissistic loner with a voracious sexual appetite, a highly developed intelligence and, most importantly, the overwhelming need to take centre stage in the pageant known as America. In Wild Man , Tom Wells creates an unforgettable picture of Daniel Ellsberg, an American Everyman for the seventies who embodied the promise and paranoia of that uncertain time. This is a thrilling piece of biography that will stand as one of the great American portraits.

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Review:

No wonder Daniel Ellsberg withdrew from participation in this biography. Although the author declares himself "sympathetic politically" to the man who leaked the Pentagon Papers to the New York Times in 1971, Tom Wells bluntly depicts a very flawed personality. Almost from his birth in 1931, according to Wells, Ellsberg was shaped by his domineering mother into a brilliant narcissist, arrogant about his unquestionable intellectual gifts but so unfocused that he never really fulfilled his early promise. At the time he passed along the top-secret study of America's involvement in Vietnam, which revealed that the government had frequently misled its citizens about a war many of its own experts felt could not be won, Ellsberg was certainly and commendably convinced that the truth must be told. But he was also frustrated by his failure to achieve the prominence he felt he deserved at the RAND Institute think tank and eager for public recognition. Wells traces the trajectory of Ellsberg's life fairly but unsparingly, drawing on the many interviews Ellsberg gave him before their break in 1995 and extensive (often directly contradictory) comments by his friends and colleagues to portray someone who habitually exaggerated his importance and overstated his role in various projects. (Wells concludes, for example, that Ellsberg's claim that he prompted Robert McNamara to order the Pentagon Papers study "is almost certainly untrue.") It's not a pretty picture, and the author doesn't gloss over Ellsberg's compulsive womanizing or his carelessness about security classifications. Nonetheless, he also paints a nuanced portrait of a man who began his career as a convinced cold-war hawk but was prompted by both research and his firsthand observations to conclude that the Vietnam War was a tragic mistake. --Wendy Smith

From the Back Cover:

"Tom Wells has done the nearly impossible in his comprehensive biography of Daniel Ellsberg--captured the enigmatic and erratic brilliance of a gung-ho war-lover who sought the opportunity to 'kill Communists' in Vietnam, then risked prison to give the Pentagon Papers to the press in the single most effective blow of the anti-war effort he once had scorned."

Tom Wicker, former columnist for the New York Times

"By releasing the Pentagon Papers to the New York Times, the enigmatic Daniel Ellsberg forever etched his name in the annals of American history. But until Tom Wells wrote "Wild Man," the strange and twisted life of Ellsberg was largely unknown. Now, in this brilliantly researched biography, we finally understand the demons that drove the eccentric Ellsberg to perform a daring act of patriotism aimed at extracting the United States from the Vietnam War."

Douglas Brinkley, historian

"Tom Wells has written a fascinating biography about the bizarre career of Daniel Ellsberg before he became famous as the man who turned the Pentagon Papers over to the New York Times. He has also retold, in breathtaking prose, portions of the dastardly and inept deeds of the 'Plumbers' unit within the White House for a generation of Americans who have long since forgotten (if they ever knew of) Ellsberg and the Pentagon Papers. Ellsberg may not be happy with this revealing account of his life and career, but Wells' s biography will save him from becoming a mere footnote to history."

Joan Hoff, author of "Nixon Reconsidered"

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Descripción Palgrave MacMillan, United Kingdom, 2009. Paperback. Estado de conservación: New. 2001. Language: English . Brand New Book ***** Print on Demand *****.On September 4, 1971, the office of Lewis Fielding, a psychiatrist practicing in Los Angeles, was broken into. It looked like a run of the mill drug raid. A month later, a homeless man was charged with burglary and the case was considered closed. On June 17, 1972, five men were charged with breaking and entering at the headquarters of the Democratic National Committee in the Watergate Hotel in Washington, D.C. With these two burglaries, one seemingly innocuous while the other was more serious because of the venue, the scandal known as Watergate was born. As the tale of Richard Nixon and his Plumbers began to unfold, it was discovered that one of Lewis Fielding s patients was Daniel Ellsberg, the man who released the Pentagon Papers to the New York Times . Ellsberg was high on Nixon s list of enemies and he vowed to destroy him at all costs. In Wild Man , Tom Wells explores the life of Daniel Ellsberg to discover what makes an individual enact the most severe breach of government security ever to occur in the United States. As Wells follows Ellsberg from his early days as a piano prodigy to his years of great promise at Harvard, we see the development of a volatile, narcissistic loner with a voracious sexual appetite, a highly developed intelligence and, most importantly, the overwhelming need to take centre stage in the pageant known as America. In Wild Man , Tom Wells creates an unforgettable picture of Daniel Ellsberg, an American Everyman for the seventies who embodied the promise and paranoia of that uncertain time. This is a thrilling piece of biography that will stand as one of the great American portraits. Nº de ref. de la librería APC9780230619791

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