Former CIA, NSA director defends surveillance programs

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Michael V. Hayden, the only person to ever head both the NSA and CIA, offers an unprecedented look at America's intelligence wars in his memoir, "Playing to the Edge: American Intelligence in the Age of Terror."

As the Times' review explains, Hayden offers a defense of the surveillance practices used by President George W. Bush's administration:

Mr. Hayden argues convincingly that he and others in the Bush administration were not bent on world domination, and had no interest in listening to your phone calls, unless you were chatting regularly with a known terrorist overseas.

The book made its debut on The New York Times Best Seller list for the week of March 13.

This week a few new releases have shot up to the top of the nonfiction list while some heavy hitters continue to fly off the shelves.

"The Kennedy Brothers: The Rise and Fall of Jack and Bobby," a book by author Richard D. Mahoney which explores the dynamics and history between two of the most celebrated brothers of American politics debuted in the top five on the bestsellers list.

The gut wrenching tale in "A Mother's Reckoning" which offers a powerful account by the mother of one of the Columbine shooters, chronicling her battle with grief and shame ever since that infamous day in April 1999, remains high on the list in its second week.

Click through the nonfiction New York Times Best Sellers list below:

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Former CIA, NSA director defends surveillance programs

No. 4on NY Times Bestsellers list nonfiction: 

Thomas Jefferson and the Tripoli Pirates: The Forgotten War That Changed American History, $17.18

This is the little-known story of how a newly indepen­dent nation was challenged by four Muslim powers and what happened when America’s third president decided to stand up to intimidation.

No. 9 on NY Times Bestsellers list nonfiction: 

In his first book published as Pope, and in conjunction with the Extraordinary Jubilee of Mercy, Pope Francis here invites all humanity to an intimate and personal dialogue on the subject closest to his heart—mercy—which has long been the cornerstone of his faith and is now the central teaching of his papacy.

No. 13 on NY Times Bestsellers list nonfiction: 

The Wilderness Warrior: Theodore Roosevelt and the Crusade for America, $13.81

From New York Times bestselling historian Douglas Brinkley comes a sweeping historical narrative and eye-opening look at the pioneering environmental policies of President Theodore Roosevelt, avid bird-watcher, naturalist, and the founding father of America’s conservation movement—now approaching its 100th anniversary.

No. 14 on NY Times Bestsellers list nonfiction: 

Dark Money: The Hidden History of the Billionaires Behind the Rise of the Radical Right, $18.68

Why is America living in an age of profound economic inequality? Why, despite the desperate need to address climate change, have even modest environmental efforts been defeated again and again? Why have protections for employees been decimated? Why do hedge-fund billionaires pay a far lower tax rate than middle-class workers?

No. 11 on NY Times Bestsellers list nonfiction: 

Being Mortal: Medicine and What Matters in the End, $15.60

In Being Mortal, bestselling author Atul Gawande tackles the hardest challenge of his profession: how medicine can not only improve life but also the process of its ending.

No. 10 on NY Times Bestsellers list nonfiction: 

Originals: How Non-Conformists Move the World, $16.20

Using surprising studies and stories spanning business, politics, sports, and entertainment, Grant explores how to recognize a good idea, speak up without getting silenced, build a coalition of allies, choose the right time to act, and manage fear and doubt; how parents and teachers can nurture originality in children; and how leaders can fight groupthink to build cultures that welcome dissent. 

No. 9 on NY Times Bestsellers list nonfiction: 

Based on two decades of reporting, NBC’s chief foreign correspondent’s riveting story of the Middle East revolutions, the Arab Spring, war, and terrorism seen up-close—sometimes dangerously so.

No. 8 on NY Times Bestsellers list nonfiction: 

The Boys in the Boat: Nine Americans and Their Epic Quest for Gold at the 1936 Berlin Olympics, $9.15

For readers of Unbroken, out of the depths of the Depression comes an irresistible story about beating the odds and finding hope in the most desperate of times—the improbable, intimate account of how nine working-class boys from the American West showed the world at the 1936 Olympics in Berlin what true grit really meant.

No. 7 on NY Times Bestsellers list nonfiction: 

The Road to Little Dribbling: Adventures of an American in Britain, $18.12

Twenty years ago, Bill Bryson went on a trip around Britain to discover and celebrate that green and pleasant land. The result was Notes from a Small Island, a true classic and one of the bestselling travel books ever written. Now he has traveled about Britain again, by bus and train and rental car and on foot, to see what has changed—and what hasn’t.

No. 6 on NY Times Bestsellers list nonfiction: 

Alexander Hamilton​, $13.06

In the first full-length biography of Alexander Hamilton in decades, Ron Chernow tells the riveting story of a man who overcame all odds to shape, inspire, and scandalize the newborn America. According to historian Joseph Ellis, Alexander Hamilton is “a robust full-length portrait, in my view the best ever written, of the most brilliant, charismatic and dangerous founder of them all.”

No. 5 on NY Times Bestsellers list nonfiction: 

The Kennedy Brothers: The Rise and Fall of Jack and Bobby, $14.33

Books about the Kennedys are legion. Yet missing until now has been the exploration of the bond between Jack and Bobby, and the part that it played in their rise and fall. 

No. 4 on NY Times Bestsellers list nonfiction: 

Between the World and Me, $9.83

In a profound work that pivots from the biggest questions about American history and ideals to the most intimate concerns of a father for his son, Ta-Nehisi Coates offers a powerful new framework for understanding our nation’s history and current crisis.

No. 3 on NY Times Bestsellers list nonfiction: 

A Mother's Reckoning: Living in the Aftermath of Tragedy, $12.14

On April 20, 1999, Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold walked into Columbine High School in Littleton, Colorado. Over the course of minutes, they would kill twelve students and a teacher and wound twenty-four others before taking their own lives.

No. 2 on NY Times Bestsellers list nonfiction: 

Playing to the Edge: American Intelligence in the Age of Terror, $17.59

An unprecedented high-level master narrative of America's intelligence wars, from the only person ever to helm both CIA and NSA, at a time of heinous new threats and wrenching change.

No. 1 on NY Times Bestsellers list nonfiction: 

When Breath Becomes Air, $15.00

At the age of thirty-six, on the verge of completing a decade’s worth of training as a neurosurgeon, Paul Kalanithi was diagnosed with stage IV lung cancer. One day he was a doctor treating the dying, and the next he was a patient struggling to live.


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