If you’re interested in the Internet and its workings, then this book is for you. Yes, it’s about Anonymous, but in a way it’s also about the place that the Internet was believed (and hoped) to be, as opposed to what it has become. The topic is important, and the author, Gabriella Coleman, goes deeper into the question than anyone else whose work I’ve read. Unfortunately, for me personally, the execution was a bit disappointing. The anthropologist’s personal storytelling style did not appeal to me. Of course, that is a personal preference, and like I said, the book’s subject matter is incredibly interesting and timely: studying the origins of Anonymous, their activities, how they relate to other online and offline groups, their political significance, and more.
This book has a lot of information that I hadn’t come across elsewhere, and it is all neatly packed into a narrative that makes sense (well, mostly). Perhaps the biggest revelation, for me, was not about the Anonymous themselves, but as to the strategies their “opponents” use to try to neutralize them. By “them” I also mean activists, journalists, and others, and who’s to say who the next targets will be? It’s enough to make you want to turn all your electronics off and run for the hills.
While the writing wasn’t always to my liking, I had a hard time putting this book down. Reality is indeed stranger than fiction, and it makes for engrossing reading. Recommended.
Note: I got this book for review purposes through NetGalley.