VOYA - Cindy Lombardo
This new offering in the justly well-reviewed Opposing Viewpoints series is a compilation of reprinted articles from respected sources. The slim volume admirably achieves the goal of concisely presenting diverse opinions on a variety of complex civil liberties issues, including freedom of expression, separation of church and state, the right to privacy, and the Internet. The thorny nuances of each issue are explored in short articles prepared by acknowledged experts representing each end of the philosophical spectrum. Each of the four chapters contains a preface that lays out the issue in broad strokes, but also hooks the reader by detailing a specific personal incident. For example, the chapter on the right to privacy begins with a one-page story about the victim of a car crash who sued a television station for running footage of her rescue, in which she begged paramedics to let her die. The chapter on free speech begins by detailing a veggie libel law incident in which a comment made by Oprah Winfrey on her television show ostensibly led to a drop in cattle prices. The man who filed the suit contended that Winfrey's remarks "spread alarmist and false information about American beef," and that she should be held accountable for the cattle industry's financial losses. Questions for further discussion, as well as a bibliography and list of organizations to contact for additional information, are included. Appropriate political cartoons are interspersed throughout the text. This is an excellent resource for high school debate preparation and could also serve as a starting point for research into the labyrinth of civil rights law and doctrine-both theoretical and practical. Index. Illus. Biblio. VOYA Codes: 4Q 1P J S (Better than most, marred only by occasional lapses, No YA will read unless forced to for assignments, Junior High-defined as grades 7 to 9 and Senior High-defined as grades 10 to 12).
School Library Journal
Gr 7 Up
These volumes provide concise overviews and have plenty of appealing features such as primary-source quotes throughout and extensive back matter. They include lists of key people and advocacy groups, time lines, and contact information for related organizations. While the information is helpful, it is not always cited. For instance, there are a variety of pull quotes throughout the volumes, but the speakers are not always identified. It can be assumed that the quotes are just important statements by the authors about the topic, but students needing to cite the information would have difficulty doing so. Furthermore, photos are scarce, and while the graphs and charts provide interesting information, they are random and bear little connection to the surrounding text. Finally, the layout is almost too structured. Each chapter is set up exactly like the one before; this makes the books predictable and somewhat dull. While the topics covered are pertinent and important, students might find the same information in Greenhaven's "At Issue" series more captivating.-Sarah K. Allen, Thetford Academy, VT