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"Peters captures Swartz flawlessly." - New York Times Book Review

"Riveting . . . Peters' book is a fascinating look not only at one of the Internet's most beloved whiz kids but also at the way copyright works and doesn't work in America today." - Los Angeles Times

"Top Tech Books of 2016 . . . With wry precision, Peters chronicles the progression of our ideas about the spread of information: from the lexicographer Noah Webster, who lobbied for the copyright act of 1790, to Edward Snowden. In different hands the 200-year deep dive might seem gratuitous, but Peters uses this history to give heft and weight to Swartz's dilemma." -Backchannel

"Best Books of 2016 - Biography . . . This is the first essential book on Swartz, and it may also be the last word." - Steve Donoghue, Open Letters Monthly

"In this impressively nimble and engrossing big-picture biography, Peters places hacktivist Swartz within a pantheon of intellectual property trailblazers and presents a colorful history of American publishing, public libraries, censorship, and copyright law." - Booklist (starred review)

"What [The Idealist] does - and does very well - is put Swartz's work in context. The book gives an engaging, if knowingly incomplete, account of the history of intellectual property and copyright law, the archaic roots (and current implications) of cyberlaw, and some key players in the ongoing fight between open-data philosophy and the federal government." - New Republic

"We are lucky to have The Idealist, by the journalist Justin Peters. His account is part biography, part history of copyright law, and ultimately a cogent and readable precis of the life of a twenty-six-year-old genius who managed, over the course of a few years, to contribute to a lifetime's worth of projects and initiatives." - Bookforum

"Not only is the book a thoroughly researched and artfully reported story of Swartz's life and death, it also puts the man's life mission into context. . . . It is filled with a number of fascinating characters -- the hot-tempered Noah Webster, the man most responsible for American copyright law; Michael Hart, who spent more than 40 years personally transcribing tens of thousands of books for public use; and Carl Malamud, who fought for free access to millions of corporate documents -- as Peters compellingly charts the history of copyright laws and the "free culture" movement." -Chicago Tribune

"An important new book. . . . The Idealist hefts its burden of research and explanation with flair. Perhaps the greatest service Peters performs, though, is giving us Swartz's own voice on page after page: a private soul with a gift for friendship; an idealist but no innocent; restless, precocious, growing and learning." - Intelligent Life Magazine

"Lucid and witty . . . an excellent survey of the [intellectual property] battlefield, and a sobering memorial to its most tragic victim." - Boston Globe

"The Idealist isn't just the tragic story of Aaron Swartz. . . [but] a story of a long battle between the private and public spheres, authority and resistance, the resigned compromises of realism and the noble thrust of idealism." - The Globe and Mail

"In the hands of journalist Justin Peters, the life and death of Aaron Swartz becomes the lens for reconsidering the entire history of copyright for the digital age. . . . Greatly expanded from its origins as an online article on Slate, The Idealist is Peters' first book, grippingly told and with a clear-eyed view of its brilliant but flawed protagonist." -Winnipeg Free Press

"Peters does a good job of not only telling Aaron Swartz's story but situating it in a broader context. The questions raised by Swartz, and by Peters in the telling, are not just about what we want the Internet to look like, but what we want our system of intellectual property to look like. . . . Before Peters even gets to Swartz, he gives a hundred pages of a wild story that begins centuries ago and is stuffed with wholly American characters. Noah Webster ("a lobbyist and a proselytizer, a prig, a pedant, a prodigy") haranguing an uncaring and sometimes hostile American populace to support the idea of copyright so that he could copyright his own grammar book. John Phillips Sousa damning the record players and reminiscing about how people used to sit on their porches and sing. Pinkertons and Rockefellers. The computers of 1964 titillating attendees of the World's Fair. Peters makes the history of copyright in America colorful, filled with big egos and big talkers." -Jewish Currents

"[A] thought-provoking discussion on the roles of copyright, digital piracy, and emerging technology." - Publishers Weekly

"Peters' title is recommended for academic audiences and lay readers -- especially those with an interest in the intersection between culture and digital technology." - Library Journal


"Breaking the Mold," Forest & Bluff Magazine, 03/08/16

Woodstock Writers Radio, 02/21/16

"An Interview with Justin Peters," Timeless Information, 02/12/16

The Download with Justin Kaufman, WGN Radio 720, 01/30/16

"Aaron Swartz Biographer Justin Peters: 'Aaron Died for Nothing,'" Inverse, 01/28/16

"Interview with Idealist Author Justin Peters," Aaron Swartz Day, 01/28/16

Live at Politics & Prose, 01/27/16

New Book Tells Story of Aaron Swartz from the Beginning of His Struggle - More Than 200 Years Ago," DigBoston, 01/26/16

The Standard Deviant Podcast, 01/24/16

"Biographer Dissects Life of Open Internet Advocate," Morning Shift, WBEZ Chicago, 01/21/16

"Tech Tuesday," All Sides with Ann Fisher, 01/19/16

"The Wunderkind of the Free Culture Movement," On the Media, 01/15/16

Word of Mouth, New Hampshire Public Radio, 01/13/16

"Remembering Aaron Swartz: The Idealist examines the context behind his quest for online freedom," TechRepublic, 01/12/16


"An Honest Thief," The Long + Short, 01/28/16

"How Aaron Swartz Caught the FBI's Attention," Gizmodo, 01/19/16

"When Aaron Swartz met Paul Graham his life - and the entire internet - changed forever," Quartz, 01/15/16

"No Place to Hack," Slate, 01/12/16