Unsafe For Democracy by William H. Jr. Thomas, Paperback | Barnes & Noble
Unsafe For Democracy

Unsafe For Democracy

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by William H. Jr. Thomas
     
 
In a study with significant relevance to questions of government authority in contemporary America, author William H. Thomas argues that the U.S. Justice Department, in its efforts to suppress anti-war sentiment during World War I, went considerably beyond its official charge of prosecuting objectors through espionage and sedition statutes. Drawing on a massive

Overview

In a study with significant relevance to questions of government authority in contemporary America, author William H. Thomas argues that the U.S. Justice Department, in its efforts to suppress anti-war sentiment during World War I, went considerably beyond its official charge of prosecuting objectors through espionage and sedition statutes. Drawing on a massive collection of microfilmed reports written by Department detectives from around the nation, Thomas demonstrates how they simultaneously augmented this more open, public mission with subtler forms of coercion, stifling opposition by engaging in covert methods of surveillance and intimidation-a new and significant finding. Based on this research, he concludes that the secret methods used in subsequent decades against the left and other organizations regarded as subversive were pioneered during, rather than after, World War I.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

“An important and timely book. . . . An invaluable contribution to our understanding of the history of the FBI and of the pernicious legacy of national security policy on the right to dissent.”—Athan Theoharis, Marquette University, author of The FBI and American Democracy

“Those now fretting that the Patriot Act has snatched civil liberties away from Americans might read this brief account and come away comforted that things could be worse—much, much worse.”—Harry Levins, St. Louis Post-Dispatch

“Thomas pushes deeper than many predecessors into Justice Department files, beyond the court cases and into the less understood campaign to silence dissent through ‘cautionary visits on suspected opponents of the war.’”—David Luhrssen, Shepherd Express

“Thomas . . . reveals that actual prosecution was merely the tip of a very large iceberg of political browbeating. . . . Recommended for all libraries.”—Library Journal

“[A] timely addition to the discussion of the US government’s responses to critically important times.”—Choice

“A cautionary tale about what can happen to our freedoms if we take them too lightly.”—Dave Wood, Hudson Star-Observer

Unsafe for Democracy raises important questions about the role of the state in modern society [and] draws a direct line between the embryonic surveillance-and-suppression state of the 1910s and the more sinister elements of the national security state of our own time.”—Journal of American History

Unsafe for Democracy poses in a modern idiom the question Abraham Lincoln asked: ‘Must a government be too strong for the liberties of its people or too weak to maintain its own existence?’. . . Thomas has produced a book that both adds to our knowledge of this troubling episode in American history and invites thoughtful consideration of such questions.”—Journal of American History

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780299228965
Publisher:
University of Wisconsin Press
Publication date:
11/01/2008
Series:
Studies in American Thought and Culture Series
Edition description:
Large Print
Pages:
472
Product dimensions:
7.00(w) x 10.00(h) x 0.95(d)

Meet the Author

William H. Thomas Jr., an independent scholar, received his Ph.D. in history from the University of Iowa. He lives in O’Fallon, Illinois.

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