Another book of ideas, to be read after Little Brother, its predecessor. Same criticism of character development, and as before, it is often more than a little preachy, putting the protagonist and his family in the middle of the many difficulties of the 2008 recession, compounded by the logical results of Marcus' activities, his father's loss of his security clearance, etc. Most ironic, and sad, is the afterword by Aaron Swartz who has since been hounded to suicide by Federal prosecutors, and the other afterword by Jacob Applebaum who asks "... if you could travel back in time an help Daniel Ellsberg leak the Pentagon Papers, ... would you risk your life?" Interestingly, Bradley Manning contacted several national papers, including the NYTimes who acted with such courage re. the Pentagon Papers, and ended up talking via IM to the despicable self-serving hacker Arian Lamo, who turned him into the FBI. The NYTimes seems to have lost the moral high ground of the Pentagon Papers times, became an apologist for the phony WMD run-up to the Iraq war, and seems to have ignored Manning's attempt to engage them in the disclosures about the Iraq war.
We live in interesting times, in which whistle blowers of all stripes are faring worse than ever. Speaking truth to power, or even to your fellow citizens has rarely been so hazardous. Perhaps some of the many adolescents who are excited by Doctorow's ideas will be able to stem the anti-democratic tide in which we are presently immersed.
If you wonder if the events described in Homeland might be an avoidable dire prognostication about some time in the hopefully distant future, take a look at the story of the seeming approach by the US Chamber of Commerce engaging a major cyber security firm in an effort to use these kinds of malware that used to be available on Rootkit.com to attack their domestic "enemies". http://truth-out.org/news/item/14951-lobbyists-targeting-liberal-groups-channeled-chinese-hackers-strategy
This book shows the exciting possibilities, and the risks to friends, family, and individuals who act on these possibilities.