Monday, September 30, 2013

My Review of "Practical Anonymity" by Peter Loshin

"Practical Anonymity" by Peter Loshin

Despite only giving it a 3 star review...Let me start with...This is not a bad book.

It did confuse me in several ways. Firstly, despite the title, this is not a book on remaining anonymous on the Internet. This is predominantly a book on setting up and using Tor to permit you to be anonymous on the Internet. The last chapter briefly covers anonymous email, but the vast majority of the book covers Tor.

Secondly, I was confused about what the target audience is. If aimed at the lay person who is worried about anonymity than it is too deep and will scare all but the most persistent off. If aimed at the technical user who wants to understand the detailed inner workings of Tor, then it is probably falls short. It does provide a fairly comprehensive discussion of the basics of Tor applicable to the novice user. This is a small portion of the book however. The majority of this book is a more detailed overview of the various features of Tor and how to set them up which is suitable to a more technical audience.

Thirdly, this book suffers from inconsistent editing, periodically repeating concepts a couple of paragraphs or pages apart, often with almost identical phrasing.

That said, the book is easy to read and reasonably well organized. The coverage of Tor is very complete and far easier to read than the Tor documentation.

If you are moderately technical and are looking for a book on the capabilities of Tor, then this is a good book to start with. If you are a computer user looking to for a way to stay anonymous on the Internet, then the first few chapters are good, but probably not worth buying the whole book. You would probably be better off with the introductory Tor documentation.

My overall rating...3 stars

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