A renowned journalist explores how the right to free speech enshrined in the U.S. Constitution is crumbling under the combined weight of political polarization, technology, money and systematized lying.
... [a] pithy and thought-provoking book ... In short, punchy chapters, Cose examines one issue after another where democratic commitments and speech claims seem to conflict ... a requiem of sorts for the core assumptions under which Cose has conducted his long and respected career. Indeed, it arrives in the midst of an election season when the journalistic craft that he represents has been under siege. He could have easily penned a jeremiad, calling on his readers to reassert old values from which Americans have unfortunately departed. Instead, he has delivered a trenchant critique of those values as harmful to the project of preserving our democracy amid our demographic, political and technological challenges ... Readers will find much with which to agree, disagree and consider in these pages. In that sense, this is a book that represents the best of our free-speech traditions.
... a comprehensive history of the United States Constitution's First Amendment and the many ways that the ideal of free speech has evolved over the course of the country's relatively short history ... Cose...proceeds to untangle that complex history in a way that is accessible to a layperson without a law degree. In doing so, Cose provides readers with tools to understand better the concept of free speech in the United States...and how various limits to free speech have played out in well-known (and some less well-known) court cases.
This concise work gives a relatively brief history of some of the more notable instances, relating them to political and social movements. A constant theme is the degree to which uncomfortable, offensive, or frankly false speech has been permitted or blocked ... Popular history suitable for high school and undergraduate reading that does not provide easy answers and warns that one of our most basic rights is under more serious attack than ever.