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Children's LiteratureSince the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, a debate has simmered regarding the balance between appropriate defense of security and civil liberties. In an age when terrorism has come to the forefront as a global threat to peace, there is growing concern that one of the first casualties of such guerrilla warfare may well be the freedom that has typified American society. Ted Gottfried tackles this complex and perplexing issue. In a balanced manner, Gottfried applies a combination of skills to an issue that has long term implications. Initially, Gottfried traces some of the history of modern terrorism and thereby crafts a position that emphasizes the extreme threat that such militants represent. However, Gottfried also notes the ways in which the very act of fighting terrorism creates an absence of democracy and due process that has long-standing implications. Topics such as racial profiling, discrimination, overly free access to personal information, and inhumane treatment are all by-products of the American government's efforts to maintain social order in the face of heinous actions on the part of terrorists. Gottfried also points out the reasons why government officials have recommended some curtailing of liberties at a time when the stakes are so high. All in all, Ted Gottfried is to be commended for providing readers with such a well written and thoughtful account of a contemporary issue of the highest priority. 2003, Twenty-First Century Books, Ages 12 up.
— Greg M. Romaneck