The author's grandfather, Sam Stone, placed an ad in the Canton, OH, newspaper shortly before Christmas in 1933, offering cash gifts to seventy-five families in distress. Readers were asked to send letters describing their hardships to a benefactor calling himself Mr. B. Virdot. The author investigates a suitcase full of letters responding to these ads as he learns more about his grandfather's hidden past as well as the suffering and triumphs of strangers...
Investigative reporter Gup turns his attention to a broad range of American institutions, exposing how and why they keep secrets from the very people they are supposed to serve. Drawing on original reporting and analysis, Gup argues that a preoccupation with secrets has undermined the very values--security, patriotism, privacy, the national interest--in whose name secrecy is so often invoked. He shows how the expanding thicket of classified information...