Freedom for the Thought That We Hate

  • by Anthony Lewis
  • Narrated by Stow Lovejoy
  • 5 hrs and 49 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

More than any other people on earth, Americans are free to say and write what they think. The media can air the secrets of the White House, the boardroom, or the bedroom with little fear of punishment or penalty. The reason for this extraordinary freedom is not a superior culture of tolerance, but just 14 words in our most fundamental legal document: the free expression clauses of the First Amendment to the Constitution. In Lewis' telling, the story of how the right of free expression evolved along with our nation makes a compelling case for the adaptability of our constitution. Although Americans have gleefully and sometimes outrageously exercised their right to free speech since before the nation's founding, the Supreme Court did not begin to recognize this right until 1919. Freedom of speech and the press as we know it today is surprisingly recent.Anthony Lewis tells us how these rights were created, revealing a story of hard choices, heroic (and some less heroic) judges, and fascinating and eccentric defendants who forced the legal system to come face-to-face with one of America's great founding ideas.


What the Critics Say

"Anecdotes abound in this lively, lucid history....Timely and important, a work that astonishes and delights as it informs." (Kirkus Reviews)


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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

The First Amendment Lives

This is the well written and expertly read book by Pulitzer Prize columnist Anthony Lewis about the First Amendement of the US Constitution. Lewis places the Amendment in historical contest, relates key cases which have shifted the meaning and interpretation of the amendment over the years, and helps the novice to Constitutional law better understand its meaning. The book is peppered with stories which illustrate the flow of high court thinking and judgements. Along the way tangential events and cases involving freedom of the press, privacy and other issues are explored in light of the First Amendment.

The author has a definite ax to grind so far as the second Bush administration is concerned, but this does not detract from the over all value of the book. Positively, the book compares Freedom of Speech as practiced in the US with the British tradition as well as others which is very interesting.

This is a book well worth the time of all who enjoy freedom of speech. It will be interesting to everyone taking the time to listen.
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- Roy

slightly stale

After the first 2 hours, I was ready for it to be completed. I found my self jumping around on the track. I listened to the whole thing, but it was like being at the doctors office in a waiting room. Your just ready for your turn.
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- patrick k.

Book Details

  • Release Date: 05-15-2008
  • Publisher: Anthony Lewis