How Wendy Snowden Impacted Ed Snowden’s Future

This article is an excerpt from the Shortform summary of "Permanent Record" by Edward Snowden. Shortform has the world's best summaries of books you should be reading.

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Who is Wendy Snowden? What kind of relationship did Edward Snowden have with his mother?

Wendy Snowden is the mother of Edward Snowden, and was a part of why he grew up with a love for books and technology. Learn more about Edward Snowden, Wendy Snowden, and the relationship between mother and son.

Wendy Snowden Taught Edward Reading and Math

Edward Snowden was born on June 21, 1983, in Elizabeth City, North Carolina. He came from a long line of heroes and patriots. His grandfather and father both worked for the Coast Guard and his mother was directly descended from the barrelmaker on the Mayflower.

Lonnie was often away for work, so Ed’s mother Wendy was a large part of his childhood. She taught Ed and his sister, Jessica, how to read by labeling their dresser drawers (socks, underwear) and taking them to the library. Ed’s favorite books were about machines, but he also liked King Arthur and Greco-Roman myths, especially the story of Hephaestus/Vulcan. He liked the idea of a group of goddesses and gods who fought among themselves and interfered with and spied on humanity.

Wendy also taught Ed math. She would buy him things only if he could correctly add up the prices. At first, he only had to round to the nearest dollar, then get the actual amount, then calculate tax.

Edward Snowden: Wendy Snowden Encouraged Time Away From the Nintendo

In 1989, when Ed was six, his family got a Nintendo (8-bit NES). He loved it so much his mother made a rule that he had to finish a book every time he wanted to rent a new game. He was faster at beating games than reading, so he beat the system by taking out short books with lots of pictures so he could get through them more quickly.

Wendy Snowden’s Career

When Ed was nine, his family moved to Crofton, Maryland. Lonnie continued to work for the Coast Guard. Wendy took a new job at the NSA, the National Security Agency, making retirement arrangements for spies.

Employment at Fort Meade

Fort Meade is the second-largest US army base and the headquarters of the National Security Agency (NSA). In the 90s, every fourth person in the surrounding Anne Arundel County worked for Fort Meade and the area had a civil servant monoculture. The base was part of the community and had a pool, grocery store, and post office.

How Wendy Snowden Impacted Ed Snowden’s Future

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Like what you just read? Read the rest of the world's best summary of Edward Snowden's "Permanent Record" at Shortform.

Here's what you'll find in our full Permanent Record summary:

  • What Ed Snowden discovered that caused him to completely lose faith in the government
  • How Snowden led the bombshell reports of US mass surveillance
  • How Snowden is coping with his treatment as both patriot and traitor

Rina Shah

An avid reader for as long as she can remember, Rina’s love for books began with The Boxcar Children. Her penchant for always having a book nearby has never faded, though her reading tastes have since evolved. Rina reads around 100 books every year, with a fairly even split between fiction and non-fiction. Her favorite genres are memoirs, public health, and locked room mysteries. As an attorney, Rina can’t help analyzing and deconstructing arguments in any book she reads.

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