Top positive review
A Primer for Anyone Studying Civil Liberties!
Reviewed in the United States on February 11, 2020
In their introduction, editors Michael Chabon and Ayelet Waldman write, “To understand the vital role that the ACLU plays in American society requires a nuanced understanding of the absolute value of freedom of speech, freedom of assembly, freedom from unwanted search and seizure, of the right to due process and equal justice under the law, even – again, especially – when those rights protect people we find abhorrent or speech that offends us” (pg. xv). The book itself covers forty different cases presented in chronological order, from “Stromberg v. California” (1931) through “ACLU v. United States Department of Defense, et al”. (2018). Some authors, like Jacqueline Woodson on “Powell v. Alabama” (1932) and “Patterson v. Alabama” (1935) or Neil Gaiman on “Reno v. ACLU” (1997) and “Ashcroft v. ACLU” (2004), examine similar cases to show how rulings changed, were refined, or upheld. What emerges is a careful study of jurisprudence in defense of civil liberties over the last century. “Fight of the Century” is a necessary primer for anyone studying civil liberties.