Liberties Lost: The Endangered Legacy of the ACLU

Overview

No fight for civil liberties ever stays won, wrote Roger Baldwin (1884-1981) in 1971. He was in a position to know. After working hard to preserve the right of Americans to free expression during World War I, he founded the American Civil Liberties Union in 1920. The ACLU quickly became, and remains to this day, the staunchest defender of American civil liberties. Woody Klein has selected from Baldwin's vast writings those essays that are most pertinent to the civil liberties debate today. In each chapter these ...

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Overview

No fight for civil liberties ever stays won, wrote Roger Baldwin (1884-1981) in 1971. He was in a position to know. After working hard to preserve the right of Americans to free expression during World War I, he founded the American Civil Liberties Union in 1920. The ACLU quickly became, and remains to this day, the staunchest defender of American civil liberties. Woody Klein has selected from Baldwin's vast writings those essays that are most pertinent to the civil liberties debate today. In each chapter these writings focus on a particular theme, such as national security or invasion of privacy. Each is followed by commentary from some of America's most prominent politicians and journalists, including Nat Hentoff, Victor Navasky, and Senators Robert C. Byrd, Russell D. Feingold, Christopher J. Dodd, and Edward M. Kennedy.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Woody Klein's new book could not be more timely. Liberties Lost, The Endangered Legacy of the ACLU appears at a point in our nation's history when more and more of us are concerned about the Bush administration's tactics in the War on Terror….While it is clear that Klein takes a dim view of the present administration's approach to civil rights, his new book is about more than the Bush administration. It offers rare insights into the life and thought of the ACLU's founder from someone who knew him well. It also includes discussions of keystone events in our nation's history such as Sacco and Vanzetti, the Scopes Monkey Trial, the internment of Japanese Americans during World War II and McCarthyism….Whether you agree with Klein's analyses or not, his new book is food for thought and a celebration of free speech at a time when we need it most."

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Westport News

"Journalist and historian Klein has collected those writings of American Civil Liberties Union founder Roger Nash Baldwin (1884-1981) that he feels are most pertinent to the current debates about civil liberties in the United States. Accompanying the eleven essays are commentaries by prominent figures in today's debates, including Senators Feingold, Leahy, Dodd, and Kennedy, as well as such writers and activists as Village Voice columnist Nat Hentoff and the recently departed Rev. William Sloane Coffin. The essays provide autobiographical accounts of Baldwin's life and involvement in the ACLU and address issues which include civil liberties in wartime, the courts and equal justice, labor and civil liberties, education as the key to protecting liberty, liberalism and political change, liberty and the media, separation of church and state, and international law."

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Reference & Research Book News

"In this timely book of writings, speeches and interviews of Roger Baldwin, founder and first director of the ACLU from 1920-1950, Woody Klein has woven together Baldwin's insights with comments on the state of civil liberties today from scholars, journalists, politicians and others, most of whom worked closely with Baldwin….Each chapter contains Baldwin's own observations on the importance of civil liberties in his time, which are as applicable today as when they were written, particularly with respect to civil liberties in the post-9/11 world."

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Civil Liberties

"[A]n optomistic and affectionate narrative suggesting that the promise of the Bill of Rights can be fulfilled in ways that are relevant in 2007—in ways that alter the balance of power without dismantling the structure of government. The beauty of the narrative is that this pragmatic and conventional approach to social and legal change is presented in a convincing manner as a radical and subversive proposition. In that vein, I think this book would be a nice resource for undergraduates. I have found it to be instructive in my teaching of Civil Rights and Liberties this semester because of various anecdotes as well as the overriding themes that augment casebooks."

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The Law and Politics Book Review

"This book is recommended reading for all students with an interest in the history of civil liberties. Klein, journalist and historian, has assembled the views of some 20 civil liberties experts in what is essentially a tribute to the late Roger Baldwin. Although not a biography in the strict sense, it amounts to a thorough analysis of Baldwin's works as a public man dedicated almost exclusively to the defense of civil liberties in the US….Recommended. General readers, lower-division undergraduates through faculty."

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Choice

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780275985066
  • Publisher: Greenwood Publishing Group, Incorporated
  • Publication date: 5/30/2006
  • Pages: 320
  • Product dimensions: 6.20 (w) x 9.40 (h) x 1.40 (d)

Meet the Author

WOODY KLEIN is a veteran journalist, historian, and an award-winning author who has been writing about social justice and civil liberties for decades. Among his more recent books are Toward Humanity and Justice: The Writings of Dr. Kenneth B. Clark, Scholar of the 1954 Brown v. Board of Education Decision (Praeger, 2004) and Westport, Connecticut: The Story of a New England Town's Rise to Prominence (Greenwood Press, 2000).

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Table of Contents

Introduction : a life dedicated to civil liberties
Ch. 1 The making of a reformer : the Roger Baldwin story : a prejudiced account by himself 5
Ch. 2 ACLU : watchdog for the underdog 27
Ch. 3 Civil liberties in wartime 67
Ch. 4 The courts and equal justice 91
Ch. 5 The government and civil liberties 125
Ch. 6 Labor and civil liberties 145
Ch. 7 Education : key to protecting liberty 159
Ch. 8 Liberalism and political change 173
Ch. 9 Liberty and the media 185
Ch. 10 Separation of church and state 209
Ch. 11 A world united by the rule of law 221
Ch. 12 Family reflections : about Roger Baldwin 241
Afterword : Roger Baldwin : a Patrician heretic 245
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