Active Measures: The Secret History of Disinformation and Political Warfare

Backorder (temporarily out of stock)
1 other format in stock!

Product Details

$30.00  $27.90
Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Publish Date
6.1 X 9.0 X 1.7 inches | 1.7 pounds

Earn by promoting books

Earn money by sharing your favorite books through our Affiliate program.

Become an affiliate

About the Author

Thomas Rid is a professor at Johns Hopkins University. He testified on disinformation in front of the U.S. Senate Select Committee on Intelligence.


Great, truly enlightening . . . The research for the book is extraordinary and the story is well told. I learned a ton I didn't know. --Jack Goldsmith, Henry L. Shattuck Professor of Law at Harvard University and author of In Hoffa's Shadow, via Twitter

Superb . . . Rid's achievement in this book is that he places our crazy, upside-down politics in a coherent historical context . . . Rid provides the best narrative I've read anywhere of how the Russian disinformation campaign in 2016 was run . . . But the deeper value of Rid's book is that it takes us to the beginnings of modern manipulation." --The Washington Post

Rid concludes this fascinating and well-researched history by warning of the need to take the challenge of misinformation seriously while being careful to not exaggerate its effects. --Lawrence D. Freedman, Foreign Affairs

"The prior century of Soviet and Russian influence campaigns directed against the United States and its allies . . . is laid out in crisp detail in Active Measures . . . [Rid] recounts elaborate and sometimes shocking tactics used to disinform democratic societies and inflame passions." --Joe Carlson, Star Tribune (Minneapolis)

A comprehensive and disturbing tour of the changing shape of disinformation over the last century. --Christian Science Monitor

"Covering a lot of ground in this dense but thorough account, Rid further includes primary sources that brilliantly show how 'information wars' have been waged throughout history . . . A fascinating read for those who appreciate learning about history within a complex political context." --Jesse A. Lambertson, Library Journal (starred review)

Engrossing . . . [Rid] provides an authoritative blow-by-blow of the hacking of the Democratic National Committee and Clinton campaign and the accompanying social media disinformation effort . . . Invaluable. --James Gibney, The American Scholar

Revealing . . . There are plenty of clever, clandestine capers in Rid's well-researched, briskly paced narrative, as well as shrewd analysis of the subtleties of making disinformation both damaging and believable, and the difficulty of knowing whether it is effective . . . Rid skillfully illuminates and demystifies this ballyhooed but much-misunderstood subject. --Publishers Weekly (starred review)

"Engaging . . . [A] highly relevant and useful study, especially as we approach the 2020 election." --Kirkus

The twentieth century was an era of deception, forgery, and made-up conspiracies concocted by the world's most formidable spy agencies. In the centuries thereafter, these same tactics will be turbo-charged and scaled to reach more people. In this groundbreaking book, Thomas Rid looks deep into neglected East European State Security archives, tracks down Cold War-era active measures officers, and examines fresh digital forensics in order to tell the true history of what we now know as disinformation. Active Measures is full of great stories that give contemporary events the historical context that has, until now, been missing. --Anne Applebaum, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Gulag: A History

Thomas Rid's timely Active Measures is an instant classic. He provides a comprehensive look at the political attacks we witnessed in 2016, and reminds us that deception and disinformation have deep historical roots. He also shows that the effects of active measures can be long-lasting, but can also boomerang on those who initiate them. As free societies look to defend against future deception campaigns, they will need to understand both the past and the new technologies that help to weaponize the practice in the present. Thomas Rid's excellent book is the best place to start. --John Sipher, former member of the Central Intelligence Agency's Senior Intelligence Service

Thomas Rid, a recognized expert in information security, investigates the history of disinformation, taking us back to its modern origins. He tells a series of thrilling stories of how this subtle game was played by the founder of the Soviet secret police, his successors at the KGB, their Western counterparts, and contemporary Russian intelligence operators. Rid has produced a book that is destined to become a seminal work on the topic. --Andrei Soldatov, coauthor of The Red Web: The Kremlin's War on the Internet and The Compatriots: The Brutal and Chaotic History of Russia's Exiles, Émigrés, and Agents Abroad

Active Measures provides a comprehensive look at the disinformation game, from the 1920s through the digital revolution. Thomas Rid gives the reader an insider's view of how high-profile influence campaigns are designed and executed, thus providing historical perspective that can help us blunt the impact of disinformation. For that reason alone, Active Measures is a must-read. --Nada Bakos, former analyst and targeting officer at the Central Intelligence Agency