THE SNAKEHEAD: AN EPIC TALE OF THE CHINATOWN UNDERWORLD AND THE AMERICAN DREAM (Doubleday 2009; Paperback 2010)

Selected as one of the Best Books of 2009 by the Washington Post, Christian Science Monitor, Chicago Tribune, San Francisco Chronicle, Publisher’s Weekly and the American Library Association.

“Essential reading…A rich, beautifully told story, so suspenseful and with so many unexpected twists that in places it reads like a John le Carré  novel.” Alex Kotlowitz, The Washington Post

“A masterwork…In this single tale about a global criminal, Keefe finds a story of quintessentially American hope.” The Christian Science Monitor

“Reads like a mashup of The Godfather and Chinatown, complete with gun battles, a ruthless kingpin and a mountain of cash. Except that it’s all true.” Time

“Painstakingly reported and vividly told…As immigration reform languishes in Washington…everyone involved—from policymakers to activists to the undocumented—would be wise to read The Snakehead.” Newsweek

A New York Times Editors Choice.

Finalist for the J. Anthony Lukas Prize and the Overseas Press Club’s Cornelius Ryan Award for Best Book on International Affairs.

For a video trailer, an image gallery, and more, please visit www.thesnakehead.com.

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“Gripping...brilliant... Keefe’s mastery of this chapter of our ongoing immigration saga is impressive. He muses thoughtfully about its many conundrums and highlights how our ethos of welcoming the persecuted gets soured by bad policy and the pervasive exploitation of the helpless. There will be more chapters, no doubt, but this one was pretty riveting.” Seth Faison, Los Angeles Times

“Formidably well researched...as much a paean to its author’s industriousness as it is a chronicle of crime...[Keefe] has had to go to astonishing lengths.” Janet Maslin, New York Times

“Bracing, vivid...Keefe writes gracefully, perceptively, insightfully about a vast array of characters...Without sacrificing one iota of narrative momentum, he untangles a dauntingly complicated [human smuggling] operation so a reader can effortlessly follow along. He makes Sister Ping...as memorable as any character in recent fiction...Riveting.” New York Times Book Review (Editors’ Choice)

“Satisfying, comprehensive…excellent. Keefe has done an immense amount of research around the globe; if the Golden Venture beaching was the tip of an iceberg, then here, finally, is the iceberg.” Ted Conover, The Nation

“A brilliant reporter's account of the Fujianese-American underworld.” Richard Bernstein, The New York Review of Books

“Riveting... The Snakehead is a gangland saga, but Keefe, a Yale-trained lawyer, deftly interweaves the political, legal and gunslinging strands of Sister Ping's story, rendering scenes of White House policy deliberation and immigration court procedure as engagingly as scenes of Chinatown shootouts and high-seas rendezvous.” National Public Radio (NPR "Summer Picks" Selection)

“Exceptional...[Keefe] tells this story with a masterful fluidity, shifting among multiple characters – gangsters at shootouts, passengers fishing off the drifting freighter, maneuvering politicians – all backed up in pages of meticulous citations...An adventure story, crime drama, political thriller and a contemplative look into immigration policy all at once. Each element could be a compelling book in its own right, but [Keefe] combines them for an illuminating whole, managing to shed light on the snarled American relationship with immigration.” Cleveland Plain Dealer

“A riveting blend of true crime and immigration history...inspired in equal parts by Tom Friedman and The Wire.” New York Magazine (New York also selected THE SNAKEHEAD for its “What To Read On Vacation” List.)

“Fresh and comprehensive.” Toronto Star

“Compelling and informative...A fascinating story.” USA Today

“It truly is an epic tale...a true-life thriller that examines just about every aspect of U.S. immigration policy.” Associated Press

“An entire room full of Hollywood screenwriters handcuffed to their laptops couldn't hope to dream up a crime story as gobsmacking as the true-life tale of Sister Ping, the subject of Patrick Radden Keefe's THE SNAKEHEAD.” Boston Phoenix

“Timely and compelling…An accomplished investigative journalist, Mr. Keefe delineates a world of raids, bribes, global conspiracies and daylight gun battles; he introduces us to gangsters, hit men, FBI agents, and the notorious, elusive Sister Ping. He places it all squarely in the context of the world’s growing immigration crisis.” The Wall Street Journal

CHATTER (Random House, 2005; Paperback, 2006)

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Read the first chapter of CHATTER here.

Boston Globe Editorial Board Pick, one of the Best Books of 2005

“It is absolutely thrilling to see someone as young, as competent, and as gifted as Patrick Radden Keefe taking on the secret world in Washington. We need much more of this kind of work, and Keefe has made a brilliant start.”
                                                              Seymour M. Hersh

“Keefe does a wonderful job of exploring the role of SIGINT, or signals intelligence (NSA's $5 word for eavesdropping), in the post-Cold War world; the mysterious Echelon system that links the many listening posts belonging to America's English-speaking allies; the agency's obsession with secrecy; the age-old question of human versus technical intelligence collection.”
                                                              James Bamford
                                                              The Washington Post Book World

“A useful research primer on today’s surveillance society…Keefe does what a brilliant, persevering law student with no inside sources or a prestigious press pass should do: he surveys much of what has been written about sigint and pores over the public hearing transcripts. He visits worried scientists and some former spooks…[He] is a researcher adept at compiling intriguing bits and pieces.”

                                                              William Safire
                                                              The New York Times Book Review

“Keefe writes crisply and entertainingly…filled with anecdotes, colorful quotes and arresting statistics.”
                                                              
William Grimes
                                                              The New York Times

“A most useful, challenging, and provocative book.”
                                                              The Los Angeles Times

“Deft, trenchant, and eye-opening.”
                                                              The Boston Globe

 

“Unveils much of the inner workings of the National Security Agency.”
                                                              The New Yorker

“In his gripping debut as an intellectual sleuth, Patrick Radden Keefe offers sharply observed glimpses of the culture of global eavesdropping. CHATTER is an unusually elegant combination of narrative reporting and analysis that makes a passionate and convincing case for the importance of human intelligence in the post-9/11 world.”
                                                              Jeffrey Rosen

“A kind of naturalist’s ramble around the fenced perimeter of the whole vast establishment of technical gear used for intercepting communications…written with fluid grace.”

                                                              Thomas Powers
                                                              The New York Review of Books

“A tour de force of investigation, analysis, and fine writing.  Keefe dares an unblinking look into the abyss of government secrecy, laying bare a tangle of lethal questions few know to ask. This book is every citizen's urgent business.”
                                                              James Carroll

CHATTER reads like a thriller. I trust that Keefe’s provocative exposition of the issues—the glut of information and questions about accuracy, efficacy, interpretation, and privacy—will inspire a much-needed national conversation.”
                                                              Senator & 9/11 Commissioner Bob Kerrey

CHATTER represents a timely and important contribution to the literature of eavesdropping and codebreaking, and an extraordinary introduction to a world about which most Americans know very little.”
                                                              David Kahn

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