Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Civil liberties summer reading list

SF is not going to become a place where authors can pitch us to read and review their books, so any writers out there, don't bother writing us that email. But the two books I've most recently completed have a civil liberties connection, so this seems like as good a place as any to share.

I most recently finished Freedom for the Thought that We Hate: A Biography of the First Amendment by Anthony Lewis. This was a great book for learning more about the history of free speech and free press in the United States. (Despite the title, the book focuses on speech and press and not other aspects of the 1st A.) This book is a reminder that we really are in the high time of free speech in America.

The book reads a bit like a history text, but it is a relatively easy read. Lewis has a topic for each chapter and then explains key cases on that topic.

Before that, I finished off The Devil in Dover: An Insider's Story of Dogma v. Darwin in Small-Town America by regular SF contributor Lauri Lebo, aka "Lauri in York". This was a great read. I killed it off in five days, which is highly unusual for me. I had multiple sittings where I read 50-75 pages at a time, again highly unusual.

The real draw of Lauri's book is the narrative she spins. The book reads like a novel, and it's incredible that it's non-fiction! As a native of this area, Lauri gives great context of life in south central PA, which adds flavor to the broader story of America's battle over evolution.

For fans of the first amendment and civil liberties, check these out!

Andy in Harrisburg

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

I read right through "The Devil in Dover"! A GREAT read!

It was facinating to get a more personal "insider's" view of the Dover Panda trial - Great job Laura!

And thanks for addressing the "objectivity" issue in science reporting - the public gets enough drivil and bunkum from the likes of Ophra and Larry King - we don't need to be giving the hoxers and the demogogic manipulators "equal time" with science.

Ask another SCIENTIST for a contrasting opinion, not a fraud!

11:57 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Another great first amendement read is Martha C. Nussbaum's Liberty of Conscience. I like it for two reasons - it is philosophically informed and it is "faith friendly".

Although I am not religious, none the less, the first amendment is GOOD for religion, not BAD for it. The religous right likes to portray those who are FOR freedom of consience as being AGAINST religion. Of course, only THEIR religion counts as a REAL religion! What a lot of clap-trap!

Those of us who are not religious often take the bate and alienate those who are - when in fact those who are religious can and will stand with us against the narrow minded authoritarians who think* their way is the only way.

As Drew (who sometimes posts here) says "If atheists want to be helpful, try lending a hand with various Christians who are tired of the highjacking of religious belief by vitriolic and dangerous absolutism and fundamentalism that is rampant in a globalized world that favors tribalism."

*I use this word in a very broad and inclusive sence.

12:19 AM  

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