Engines of Liberty: How Citizen Movements Succeed

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Product Details

Basic Books
Publish Date
5.4 X 0.9 X 8.0 inches | 0.66 pounds
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About the Author

David Cole is the national legal director of the ACLU, and the Hon. George J. Mitchell Professor in Law and Public Policy at Georgetown University Law Center. An award-winning author, a regular contributor to the New York Review of Books, and the legal affairs correspondent for the Nation, he lives in Washington, DC.


One of Washington Post's Notable Nonfiction Books of 2016
"[Cole's] narratives weave a compelling portrait of advocacy-driven constitutional change... the collection certainly stands apart from dense and dry legal texts in being readable, accessible and at times even gripping... a deeply hopeful book about an institution in which our hope may be dwindling."--Washington Post
"A fresh and revelatory account of constitutional reform from the bottom up. The book carries a hopeful message: Despite the undue influence wielded by elite institutions, ordinary citizens can and do drive constitutional change...Cole's examples of constitutional reform, on both the left and the right, bear out his claims."--Nation
"A convincingly argued book."--Dorf on Law
"In Engines of Liberty, David Cole turns constitutional law on its head. With his characteristic intelligence and clarity, Cole demonstrates that the law changes from the bottom up, not the top down, and that it is citizens, not judges, who are the ultimate custodians of our nation's laws."
--Jeffrey Toobin, author of The Oath and The Nine
"Engines of Liberty is a masterful account of how civil society organizations work, and a passionate argument for why they are so important to our democracy. David Cole offers invaluable knowledge and insight about the potential each of us has to shape our nation's laws and public life. My hope is that Engines of Liberty inspires a new generation of activists to rise up and launch their own campaigns for civil liberties."--Anthony D. Romero, Executive Director, American Civil Liberties Union
"In expertly demonstrating how ordinary people can make a huge difference on defining issues in our nation, David Cole has written an important, inspiring, and essential book!"--Mary Bonauto, Civil Rights Project Director at Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders
"A skilled human rights practitioner unveils a characteristically thoughtful, balanced anatomy of successful constitutional advocacy, which focuses less on winning court battles than on shaping the popular sentiments that critically drive or obstruct political change."--Harold Hongju Koh, Sterling Professor of International Law, Yale Law School
"No one is better than David Cole at explaining how Americans can fight for civil liberties and civil rights. He is passionate yet careful, accessible yet nuanced, Engines of Liberty wonderfully highlights his intellectual virtues."--Randall Kennedy, Michael R. Klein Professor at Harvard Law School and author of For Discrimination
"Anyone who doubts the ability of Americans to change both policy and law should read David Cole's book. His analysis of how we go about protecting the rights of gun owners is the most accurate I have ever read. This is a must read."
--David Keene, former president of the NRA
"David Cole is one of our most astute and perceptive constitutional commentators. His work is indispensable."
--Robert Post, Dean, Yale Law School
"Transforms one's understanding of the contributions of other forums-state legislatures, for example, and public opinion (at home and abroad) -- in campaigns that eventually culminate in Supreme Court decisions."--New York Review of Books
"Cole's book is compelling, especially in today's climate of gridlock following the death of Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia."--Kirkus