The Use and Abuse of Hidden Power
This event includes a book signing
February 23, 2017
Harvard Book Store
1256 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge, MA 02138
This event is free; no tickets are required.
Harvard Book Store and Mass Humanities welcome the Harvard Kennedy School's MARY GRAHAM, author and codirector of the Transparency Policy Project, for a discussion of her latest book, Presidents’ Secrets: The Use and Abuse of Hidden Power.
About Presidents' Secrets
Ever since the nation’s most important secret meeting—the Constitutional Convention—presidents have struggled to balance open, accountable government with necessary secrecy in military affairs and negotiations. For the first one hundred and twenty years, a culture of open government persisted, but new threats and technology have long since shattered the old bargains. Today, presidents neither protect vital information nor provide the open debate Americans expect.
Mary Graham tracks the rise in governmental secrecy that began with surveillance and loyalty programs during Woodrow Wilson’s administration, explores how it developed during the Cold War, and analyzes efforts to reform the secrecy apparatus and restore oversight in the 1970s. Chronicling the expansion of presidential secrecy in the Bush years, Graham explains what presidents and the American people can learn from earlier crises, why the attempts of Congress to rein in stealth activities don’t work, and why presidents cannot hide actions that affect citizens’ rights and values.
"Presidents from George Washington through Barack Obama have struggled to balance the citizens' right to know versus the government's need for secrecy. In Presidents' Secrets, Mary Graham tells this fascinating story from Washington's remarkably modern-sounding explosion about unauthorized leaks at the Constitutional Convention to the novel challenges posed by the Cold War and the new technology." —Mike Kinsley, Vanity Fair
"Presidents’ Secrets is a work of scholarly merit and depth told deftly with rich narrative and compelling detail. Graham provides an historical context against a dramatic background. The portrayals of presidential decision-making bring with them an intimacy that elevates the book well above and beyond the usual wonkish treatments—and does so without compromising scholarship. A splendid piece of work." —Ted Gup, professor, journalist, and author of Nation of Secrets: The Threat to Democracy and the American Way of Life
Walking from the Harvard Square T station: 2 minutes
As you exit the station, reverse your direction and walk east along Mass. Ave. in front of the Cambridge Savings Bank. Cross Dunster St. and proceed along Mass. Ave for three more blocks. You will pass Au Bon Pain, JP Licks, and TD Bank. Harvard Book Store is located at the corner of Mass. Ave. and Plympton St.
Unable to attend a Harvard Book Store author event? You can still pre-order a signed book by one of our visiting authors.
While we can't guarantee fulfillment of a signed book pre-order, our authors are almost always able to sign extra books to fulfill such orders.
Ordering a signed book on harvard.com:
- Add the book to your shopping cart and then click Checkout.
- Specify in Order Comments that you want a signed copy of the book.
- Please note: online orders for signed copies must be placed at least one business day before the event. If you are ordering the day of, please call us instead.
Ordering a signed book by phone:
- Call us at (617) 661-1515 and one of our booksellers will take your order. Specify you'd like a signed copy.
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Can I request a personalized inscription?
Unless otherwise noted, we are happy to take requests for the author to sign your book to a specific person, but we can't guarantee it. If you do get a personalized inscription, the book will be non-returnable. We will require credit card information when you place the order.
Do signed books cost more?
There is no extra fee for a signed book!
Do I have to pick it up in the store, or can you deliver my signed book?
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I am planning to attend an author event. Do I need to pre-order a book?
No need. We'll be selling books at the event, and nearly all of our events include a signing at the end of the talk.
More questions? Give us a call!
Mass Humanities conducts and supports programs that use history, literature, philosophy, and the other humanities disciplines to enhance and improve civic life in Massachusetts. Learn more at masshumanities.org.
Featured event books will be for sale at the event for 20% off. Thank you for supporting this author series with your purchases.
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