From the best-selling author of The Working Poor, an impassioned, incisive look at the violations of civil liberties in the United States that have accelerated over the past decade and their direct impact on our lives.
How have our rights to privacy and justice been undermined? What exactly have we lost? Pulitzer Prize-winner David K. Shipler searches for the answers to these questions by examining the historical expansion and contraction of our fundamental rights and, most pointedly, the real-life stories of individual men and women who have suffered. This is the account of what has been taken and of how much we stand to regain by protesting the departures from the Bill of Rights.
With keen insight and telling detail, Shipler describes how the Supreme Court's constitutional rulings play out on the streets as Washington, D.C., police officers search for guns in poor African American neighborhoods, how a fruitless search warrant turns the house of a Homeland Security employee upside down, and how the secret surveillance and jailing of an innocent lawyer results from an FBI lab mistake. Each instance - often as shocking as it is compelling - is a clear illustration of the risks posed to individual liberties in our modern society. And, in Shipler's hands, each serves as a powerful incitement for a retrieval of these precious rights. A brilliant, immeasurably important book for our time.
©2011 David K. Shipler (P)2011 Audible, Inc.
""Shipler’s sure grasp of frequently impenetrable Supreme Court decisions (translated nicely for the non-lawyer), his engaged reporting and his generally evenhanded assessment of the reasons for these sometimes abrupt, mostly incremental intrusions on our freedoms make for an informed, persuasive argument. A timely call for vigilance." (Kirkus)
Very good book. I have to admit that I was waiting for Shipler’s own left of center biases to shine through, but he does an outstanding job of rising above the fray.
Typically when someone on the left takes up this subject they point out violations on the part of Republicans in a very personal manner as in, Nixon was evil, or George Bush was this or that, and then Roosevelt, Obama, et al have their sins mixed in with the faults of America at large so as to minimize their personal stake in the matter.
Not so with this book. Shipler points out the loss of freedoms under the Bush administration, but - and this is refreshing - actually blames the shock and uncertainty of the moment instead of assigning their actions to some nefarious plan by Dick Cheney and his crew of devilish imps. Likewise, he makes due note of Obama’s continuation of the Bush administration’s policies, and in fact - though this is only implied, and not even purposely - Obama looks much worse since he is not dealing with the war on terror in the initial crises mode that Bush had to face, but is simply holding the ship steady on its course for stripping the citizenry of even more freedoms.
And even that subject, Bush or Obama, Left or Right, takes a backseat to the stated goal of his book; that of our rights. The author spends much more time talking about our rights as they are violated on a day to day basis, and not just at the 30,000 foot view of biased punditry.
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