Democracy, If We Can Keep It: The ACLU’s 100-Year Fight

Democracy, If We Can Keep It: The ACLU’s 100-Year Fight for Rights in America Democracy, If We Can Keep It The ACLU s 100 Year Fight for Rights in America by Ellis Cose is a fascinating and fair look back at the history of the organization.This is the story of free speech, or the battle for free speech, in the US over the past century Some famous cases but also many lesser known cases that were every bit as important as precedent setters There is also a bit of the internal debates and personnel issues that have occurred over the years While the internal issues having Democracy, If We Can Keep It The ACLU s 100 Year Fight for Rights in America by Ellis Cose is a fascinating and fair look back at the history of the organization.This is the story of free speech, or the battle for free speech, in the US over the past century Some famous cases but also many lesser known cases that were every bit as important as precedent setters There is also a bit of the internal debates and personnel issues that have occurred over the years While the internal issues having to do with cases was particularly interesting I could have done without a lot of the purely internal issues But, to be fair, those sections were few and far between and served to help the reader understand that not everything the ACLU does or has done comes without internal debate and, sometimes, shake up.The chapter on Trump and the ACLU s decision to represent Kessler illustrates clearly that the ACLU is about free speech and not simply some left right type of issue selection I admit to falling into the camp that would like a stricter concept of free speech so I didn t agree with their decision there I believe there was sufficient evidence to support the idea that there would be violence, but I don t know exactly how much has come out after the fact As much as white supremacists and neo Nazis are worthless they do have a right to free speech, but NOT speech or events that seek to cause violence I recently completed Confessions of a Free Speech Lawyer Charlottesville and the Politics of Hate by Rodney Smolla which defends the right of free speech but also brings to light some information that has largely been uncovered since the event.Make no mistake, no one will agree with the views of every case the ACLU has taken on That isn t, however, what the organization is about It is not truly a left or right organization unless the right believes there should not be free speech So the little cowards who give one star without reading the book are, without question, the types of people who cheered the death in Charlottesville They didn t read the book, or the others they also one starred, mainly because there are words here longer than one syllable, so it is beyond them Ignore those trolls, they just want to continue to be able to display their racism and stupidity openly and Trump empowers them to do so since he so openly displays his racism and stupidity.I highly recommend this to readers who would like to learnabout some of the major free speech cases of the past century You will find yourself grappling with just how we should promote free speech, how we should define it, and what should perhaps be limited or not allowed It is not and should not be based on our level of agreement with the views but on whether those views are simply being expressed or, like many right wing rallies, designed to promote violence both at the event and after the instigators have left town.Reviewed from a copy made available by the publisher via NetGalley Published to coincide with the ACLU s centennial, a major new book by the nationally celebrated journalist and bestselling authorFor a century, the American Civil Liberties Union has fought to keep Americans in touch with the founding values of the Constitution As its centennial approached, the organization invited Ellis Cose to become its first ever writer in residence, serving as an embedded journalist with complete editorial independenceThe result is Cose s groundbreaking Democracy, If We Can Keep It The ACLU and ItsYear Battle for Our Rights, the most authoritative account ever of America s premier defender of civil liberties A vivid work of history and journalism, Our Democracy, If We Can Keep It is not just the definitive story of the ACLU but also an essential account of America s rediscovery of rights it had granted but long denied Cose s narrative begins with World War I and brings us to today, chronicling the ACLU s role through the horrors of, the saga of Edward Snowden, and the phenomenon of Donald TrumpA chronicle of America s most difficult ethical quandaries from the Red Scare, the Scottsboro Boys trials, Japanese American internment, McCarthyism, and Vietnam, Democracy, If We Can Keep Itweaves these accounts into a deeper story of American freedom one that is profoundly relevant to our present moment Thanks to NetGalley and The New Press for an advance copy of this book in exchange for an honest review I rarely quit books, but unfortunately I had to make an exception for this one I wanted to like this book, as I was really interested in the premise and I wanted to learnabout some of the ACLU s landmark cases However, the organization of this book just completely did me in The sections and chapters are extremely long, so you feel like you re not making any progress, and the book lit Thanks to NetGalley and The New Press for an advance copy of this book in exchange for an honest review I rarely quit books, but unfortunately I had to make an exception for this one I wanted to like this book, as I was really interested in the premise and I wanted to learnabout some of the ACLU s landmark cases However, the organization of this book just completely did me in The sections and chapters are extremely long, so you feel like you re not making any progress, and the book literally reads like a textbook The author spends a ton of time on diving into people and their backstories at the expense of developing any sort of momentum This book has a lot of potential but unfortunately didn t deliver The ACLU is one of those institutions that people hear about but have no idea what they do or how they came to be This author does a brilliant job of filling the reader in on the rich and important history and how important the ACLU is in ensuring that we always have the freedom of speech, especially in these turbulent times This is a must read


About the Author: Ellis Cose

Ellis Cose is a former columnist for Newsweek, chairman of the editorial board of the New York Daily News, contributor and critic for Time, and columnist for USA Today The author of numerous books, including the bestselling The Rage of a Privileged Class, he lives in New York City.


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