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Seven Stories Press

Works of Radical Imagination

Attack from Within

How Disinformation Is Sabotaging America

by Barbara McQuade

Book cover for Attack from Within
Book cover for Attack from WithinBook cover for Attack from Within

A New York Times Bestseller

An urgent, comprehensive explanation of the ways disinformation is impacting democracy, and practical solutions that can be pursued to strengthen the public, media, and truth-based politics.

MSNBC's legal expert breaks down the ways disinformation has become a tool to drive voters to extremes, disempower our legal structures, and consolidate power in the hands of the few.

“A comprehensive guide to the dynamics of disinformation and a necessary call to the ethical commitment to truth that all democracies require.”
—Timothy Snyder, author of the New York Times bestseller On Tyranny

American society is more polarized than ever before. We are strategically being pushed apart by disinformation—the deliberate spreading of lies disguised as truth—and it comes at us from all sides: opportunists on the far right, Russian misinformed social media influencers, among others. It's endangering our democracy and causing havoc in our electoral system, schools, hospitals, workplaces, and in our Capitol. Advances in technology including rapid developments in artificial intelligence threaten to make the problems even worse by amplifying false claims and manufacturing credibility.

In Attack from Within, legal scholar and analyst Barbara McQuade, shows us how to identify the ways disinformation is seeping into all facets of our society and how we can fight against it. The book includes:

- The authoritarian playbook: a brief history of disinformation from Mussolini and Hitler to Bolsonaro and Trump, chronicles the ways in which authoritarians have used disinformation to seize and retain power.

- Disinformation tactics—like demonizing the other, seducing with nostalgia, silencing critics, muzzling the media, condemning the courts; stoking violence—and why they work.

- An explanation of why America is particularly vulnerable to disinformation and how it exploits our First Amendment Freedoms, sparks threats and violence, and destabilizes social structures.

- Real, accessible solutions for countering disinformation and maintaining the rule of law such as making domestic terrorism a federal crime, increasing media literacy in schools, criminalizing doxxing, and much more.


Disinformation is designed to evoke a strong emotional response to push us toward more extreme views, unable to find common ground with others. The false claims that led to the breathtaking attack on our Capitol in 2021 may have been only a dress rehearsal. Attack from Within shows us how to prevent it from happening again, thus preserving our country’s hard-won democracy.

Watch the book trailer here:

Book cover for Attack from Within
Book cover for Attack from WithinBook cover for Attack from Within

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May30

Thursday, May 30, 2024, 7:30 PM

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“A comprehensive guide to the dynamics of disinformation and a necessary call to the ethical commitment to truth that all democracies require.”

“A great public servant and one of the most acute observers of our time shares insightful views about the menace of disinformation — its history, its dangers, how it threatens America in particular and how we fix the problem. This is a compelling work about a challenge that — left unexamined and left unchecked — could undermine our democracy.”

“Barbara McQuade offers a superb, easy-to-read assessment of the information war being waged in America right now, what the stakes are, and what can be done to turn things around. As someone who grew up behind the Iron Curtain, I understand the dangers of authoritarianism. If you want to understand the risks to democracy and how we can address them, read this important book.”

“Barb McQuade has the rare ability to ask the right questions and then answer them. Her take on disinformation — how and why it's been used — is critical to understanding this point in our nation's history. Attack from Within is essential reading for everyone.”

“Meticulous, lucid, compelling. Spurred by the 'fierce urgency of now,' McQuade has laid out how we can recognize and then disarm the weapon of disinformation and, in the process, save American democracy.”

“Barb McQuade traces the history of disinformation from its inception to modern day brilliantly linking past challenges of falsehoods and how they become amplified in the digital age. Barb then goes a step further offering a comprehensive plan for restoring the integrity of information and instilling resiliency in our democracies. A remarkable, well versed study that’s a must read for all citizens.”

“Is our democracy destined for death by disinformation? That is among the urgent questions addressed by Barb McQuade in this timely and engaging book. McQuade, a former national security prosecutor, argues that information warfare is at the center of efforts by far-right operatives, including Republican party elites, to turn Americans against each other and inflame racial and other hatreds, sabotaging our civil society and America's position as a leader of the free world. She also offers solutions to the epidemic of disinformation, from enhanced regulation of social media companies to accountability measures against bots to support for local journalism. It is essential reading and her message that we must make truth in democracy our national purpose could not come at a better moment.”

“Barb McQuade offers a sweeping and panoramic view of the disinformation landscape and how it contributes to the erosion of our shared reality, which is a sine qua nonfor the rule of law. Like any seasoned prosecutor she marshals the evidence, presents expert testimony, and makes the case for why this threat is one we must address together, as citizens. Her book is a wake-up call for the need to take back power from social media platforms and would-be authoritarians and restore our democratic norms and responsibility to the truth.”

““Barbara McQuade brings an experienced and refreshingly sober lens to America's current challenges. Her writing and legal analysis is an antidote to both ignorance and political hysteria -- at a time when we all need to be informed and vigilant about the threats posed by would-be authoritarians and their enablers.”

“In a scholarly yet accessible approach as befits her status as a respected former U.S. attorney, current professor of law at the University of Michigan and MSNBC/NBC legal analyst McQuade presents an overwhelming litany of examples of falsehoods that are threatening American democracy through their undermining of foundational institutions. Buttressed by contributions from acclaimed political and legal experts too numerous to name here, McQuade’s argument for the need to recognize and correct this pernicious assault on the nation’s norms is airtight.”

blog — April 19

Editor Greg Ruggiero returns to Seven Stories Press

Greg Ruggiero, one of America’s top editors of leftist nonfiction, returned in November 2023 to Seven Stories Press, where he began his career in book publishing.

Ruggiero started out as a pamphleteer, hawking works by Howard Zinn and Noam Chomsky from street corners with his cohort Stuart Sahulka. Together, they founded Open Magazine and, in 1991, the Open Magazine Pamphlet Series, publishing, among many others, Edward Said, Loretta Ross, Manning Marable, Mike Davis, Thomas Frank, The United Nations, and the Dalai Lama.

In 1998, he partnered with Seven Stories Press to create the Open Media series, which pioneered a new kind of political pamphlet in book form, most notably Noam Chomsky’s 9-11 and Angela Davis’s Are Prisons Obsolete?, but also works from less well-known authors, such as Tanya Reinhardt's Israel/Palestine.

Ruggiero was also co-editor, with Juana Ponce de Leon, of Our Word Is Our Weapon, the collected writings of Subcommandante Marcos, released in 2000. While in Chiapas, Mexico, working on that book, he was detained and interrogated, and given a week to leave the country.

In 2005, he left Seven Stories, moving to City Lights in early 2006. At City Lights his notable publications include The Black History of the White House by Clarence Lusane, and a new edition of Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass with lecture notes by Angela Davis. After 17 years, Ruggiero left City Lights in 2023. 

His first acquisition for Seven Stories was MSNBC legal analyst Barbara McQuade’s Attack from Within, which hit regional and national bestseller lists in its first week of sales in February 2024. Subsequent acquisitions include Talking About Abolition by Sonali Kolhatkar (January 2025), Reversing the Pipeline: Black Boarding Schools and Mass Incarceration by Tamar Sarai, Anthropause: The Beauty of Degrowth by Stan Cox, Todd Miller’s Dammed: Climate Change, Borders, and the Emerging Water Wars, and From Gaza to Paradise by Ramzy Baroud.


* * *


For further information:
Ruth Weiner
Seven Stories Press
914-309-8570
ruth@sevenstories.com
 

Barbara McQuade

Barbara McQuade is a professor at the University of Michigan Law School, where she teaches criminal law and national security law. She is also a legal analyst for NBC News and MSNBC. From 2010 to 2017,  McQuade served as the U.S Attorney for the Eastern District of Michigan. She was appointed by President Barack Obama, and was the first woman to serve in her position. McQuade also served as vice chair of the Attorney General’s Advisory Committee and co-chaired its Terrorism and National Security Subcommittee.

Before her appointment as U.S. Attorney, McQuade served as an Assistant U.S. Attorney in Detroit for 12 years, including service as Deputy Chief of the National Security Unit. In that role, she prosecuted cases involving terrorism financing, foreign agents, threats, and export violations. McQuade serves on a number of non-profit boards, and served on the Biden-Harris Transition Team in 2020-2021. She has been recognized by The Detroit News with the Michiganian of the Year Award, the Detroit Free Press with the Neal Shine Award for Exemplary Regional Leadership, Crain's Detroit Business as a Newsmaker of the Year and one of Detroit's Most Influential Women, and the Detroit Branch NAACP and Arab American Civil Rights League with their Tribute to Justice Award. McQuade is a graduate of the University of Michigan and its law school. She and her husband live in Ann Arbor, Michigan, and have four children.