Little Brother

Book – Fiction. By Cory Doctorow. 2008. 384 pages.
A contemporary novel for teenagers that explores Homeland Security and freedom of speech in the post-9/11 United States.

  • Time Periods: 2001 - Present, 21st Century | Themes: Laws & Citizen Rights | Reading Levels: High School | Resource Types: Books: Fiction

littlebrotherOur thanks to Cory Doctorow for spreading the word about the proposed ban of books by Howard Zinn in Arkansas schools. 


Set in the very near future, Little Brother goes to technological places that Orwell’s Big Brother couldn’t. Students that have read 1984 will love the references to Orwell’s original and will appreciate the upgrade.

After a major terrorist attack in San Francisco, 17-year-old hacker extraordinaire, w1n5t0n (pronounced “Winston”) is arrested by a Department of Homeland Security (DHS) that has gone on a civil rights-crushing campaign to fight “terrorists.”

In no time our clever protagonist realizes that the DHS is the real enemy of the American people, although these same American people roll over and endure the loss of rights so that they can feel safer. Sound familiar?

Shortly after the government crackdown, a group of high school kids figure out how to circumvent the surveillance techniques of authorities and launch a movement to jam the system (and not trust anybody over 25).

There are some short history lessons about the Free Speech Movement, Emma Goldman, and others along the way. Just watch what happens to the teacher that dares to teach about past mass citizen movements.

Throw in a little teenage insecurity about relationships and the clueless-ness of adults and you have a book that teenagers should love. Rebellious adults will also have a hard time putting this book down, even if it is geared toward the more technologically savvy younger generation. [Description by Don Allen.]

ISBN: 9780765323118 | Published by Tor Teen Books.

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