mark hertsgaard

Independent Journalist & Author


Will Jerry Brown Frack California?

The latest climate science says humanity must leave two-thirds of the earth’s proven fossil fuel reserves in the ground, unburned, if we are to avoid catastrophic climate change. This imperative in effect rules out fracking–the practice of injecting water, sand and chemicals underground to force previously inaccessible oil and gas to the surface–because fracking is all about accessing those two-thirds of reserves. All of which creates a dilemma for governor Jerry Brown, a self-identified climate champion who nevertheless allows fracking in California. See my print piece The Nation here:

Radio versions of the story aired locally on KALW, one of the two NPR stations in the Bay Area, and will soon air nationally on “Latino USA” and another NPR program TBD. The KALW stories are here: and here:


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Latest Book


By now, almost everyone knows what Edward Snowden did: leak top secret documents revealing that the US government was spying on hundreds of millions of people around the world. But if you want to know why Snowden did it, the way he did it, you need to know the stories of two other men.

The first is Thomas Drake, who blew the whistle on the very same surveillance ten years before Snowden did and got crushed. The other is The Third Man, a former senior Pentagon official who comes forward in this book for the first time to describe how his superiors repeatedly broke the law to punish Drake—and unwittingly taught Snowden how to evade their clutches.

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About Mark

Independent journalist Mark Hertsgaard is the author of seven books that have been translated into sixteen languages, including Bravehearts: Whistle Blowing in the Age of Snowden; HOT: Living Through the Next Fifty Years on Earth; and A Day in the Life: The Music and Artistry of the Beatles. He has reported from twenty-five countries about politics, culture and the environment for leading outlets, including The Guardian, Der Spiegel, Vanity Fair, The New Yorker, Time, Mother Jones, NPR, the BBC and The Nation, where is the environment correspondent. He lives in San Francisco.