Government Secrecy
Classic and Contemporary Readings
by Susan L. Maret and Jan Goldman, Editors
December 2008, 820pp, 7x10
1 volume, Libraries Unlimited

Paperback: 978-1-59158-690-6
$75, £56, 63€, A108
eBook Available: 978-1-59884-501-3
Please contact your preferred eBook vendor for pricing.

Government Secrecy is designed to engage students and other interested parties in critical discovery of secrecy as an ongoing and potentially necessary form of government policy.

Government Secrecy presents the best that has been thought and written on the subject, including history and philosophy, theory and practice, justification and critique. Through readings, which range from Georg Simmel on secrecy and Max Weber on bureaucracy and secret-keeping, to post-9/11 concerns regarding freedom of information and presidential secrecy, it enables readers to explore the issues and questions that surround the government’s right to keep necessary secrets—or not.

This collection, and the diverse perspectives it represents, will engage students and other interested parties in a discussion of the benefits—and dangers—of government secrecy. The collection is designed to generate questions regarding historical accuracy of government information, information ethics, professional neutrality, ownership of information, public right to information, national security, and transparency. The essays explore the criteria and conditions for government secret-keeping, as well as contributing to public and academic discussion of the role of secrets in democracies.


"This collection contains 45 historical and contemporary readings on the topic of government secrecy in the US in different time periods and contexts. Maret (library and information science, San Jose State U.) and Goldman (intelligence, National Defence Intelligence College) include readings written as early as 1787 (by Thomas Jefferson), up to 2008, most of which are from the mid-twentieth century and later. Readings cover the history, philosophy, theory, practice, critique, and justification of the field, and consider definitions, organizational aspects in selected intelligence agencies such as the CIA and NSA, criteria for government secret keeping, secrecy as regulation, national security and presidential power, and after 9/11 and the future of information."—Reference & Research Book News, May 1, 2009
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