Gabriella Coleman – Hacker, Hoaxer, Whistleblower, Spy: The Many Faces Of Anonymous


Verso, ISBN-13: 978-1781685839, English, 454 pages, 2014, USA

Easily definable as the ultimate book about the Anonymous movement, this text is more than just that. Coleman has not only extensively researched the movement since the beginning, considering its different components (technical, media, linguistic and social), but has personally investigated and been in dialogue with a lot of its members, following actions and internal debates closely. This is a first person account of the group’s trajectories, documented through live and virtual meetings. She has being accepted by the movement at large something which often creates an underlying tension between writing about them and showing support to some of their causes and methodologies, transcending the classic role of the anthropologist. But Anonymous’ totally elusive nature is very effectively narrated, alternating analysis, facts, narration and excerpts of conversation, generating a powerful and very well documented account. Coleman is clearly an expert, being able to describe Anonymous’ general political approach and its diversified tactics to defend rights and freedom. One of the most important characteristics that emerges seamlessly here is the unpredictability of Anonymous in time and space, which is naturally reinforced by the heterogeneous nature of the movement and its on-going history. In fact, what Coleman describes is a new online grammar to be learnt, which definitely breaks the reassuring paternalistic paradigms of online giants. It incorporates ‘uncertainty’ as a milestone to understand contemporaneity.


Gabriella Coleman : Hacker, Hoaxer, Whilstleblower, Spy: The Many Faces Of Anonymous