Freedom for the Thought That We Hate: A Biography of the First Amendment Kindle Edition

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ISBN-13: 978-0465039173
ISBN-10: 0465039170
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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

The First Amendment's injunction that Congress shall make no law... abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press seems cut and dried, but its application has had a vexed history, according to this lucid legal history, Lewis's first book in 15 years (after Make No Law and Gideon's Trumpet). Some suppressions of free speech passed constitutional muster in their day: the 1798 Sedition Act criminalized criticism of the president, and the WWI-era Sedition Act sentenced a minister to 15 years in prison for telling his Bible class that a Christian can take no part in the war. Law professor and Pulitzer Prize–winning ex-New York Times columnist Lewis explores other First Amendment legal quagmires, including libel law, privacy issues, the press's shielding of confidential sources, obscenity and hate speech. Not quite a free speech absolutist, he's for punishing speech that urges terrorist violence to an audience... whose members are ready to act. Lewis's story is about the advancement of freedom by the likes of Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr., Louis Brandeis and others whose bold judicial decisions have made the country what it is. The result is an occasionally stirring account of America's evolving idea of liberty.
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Review

"[A] heroic account of how courageous judges in the 20th century created the modern First Amendment."―Jeffrey Rosen, New York Times Book Review

Mr. Lewis does a remarkable job of presenting the history and scope of freedom of thought...a concise and wise book."―Economist

"[Lewis] looks behind the printed page to scrutinize the experiences and values of the men and women whose utterances are given the force of law. The result is a short history of the First Amendment that is always illuminating and sometimes rollicking."―Los Angeles Times

"Lewis blends a profound understanding of First Amendment jurisprudence and history with an enjoyable writing style that his readers have long come to admire. In our war-torn era where dissent and open-minded debate have become problematic, Lewis compels us to remember the crucial function free speech serves in our democratic form of government."―Christian Science Monitor

"It's hard to imagine a book about legal history reading like a page-turner, but this one does. The Supreme Court justices whose decisions have shaped our country emerge as conflicted and principled human beings. The questions that have yet to be settled press impatiently against the book's pages, reminding us that the First Amendment continues to shift under our feet even as we read."―Providence Journal

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Reviewed in the United States on August 16, 2015
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Reviewed in the United States on June 9, 2008
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Reviewed in the United States on May 5, 2008
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Reviewed in the United States on December 23, 2008
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Top international reviews

Angela
5.0 out of 5 stars For anyone interested in a short history of the 1st Amendment
Reviewed in Spain on January 5, 2020
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