The Short Life and Curious Death of Free Speech in America

Product Details
Amistad Press
Publish Date
5.2 X 7.9 X 0.6 inches | 0.35 pounds

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About the Author

Ellis Cose was a longtime columnist and contributing editor for Newsweek magazine, the former chairman of the editorial board of the New York Daily News, and is the creator and director of Renewing American Democracy, an initiative of the University of Southern California, Northwestern, and Long Island University. He began his journalism career as a weekly columnist for the Chicago Sun-Times and has been a contributor and press critic for Time magazine, president and chief executive officer of the Institute for Journalism Education, and columnist and chief writer on management and workplace issues for USA Today. Cose has appeared on the Today show, Nightline, Dateline, ABC World News, Good Morning America, and a variety of other nationally televised and local programs. He has received fellowships or individual grants from the Ford Foundation, the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the Rockefeller Foundation, and the University of California, among others, and has won numerous journalism awards. Cose is the author of The Short Life and Curious Death of Free Speech in America, Bone to Pick, The Envy of the World, the bestselling The Rage of a Privileged Class, and several other books.


"In a stunningly original book, Ellis Cose cuts to the very core of free speech battles. Ordinary people are being held captive by ear-splitting political voices while not enough Americans are protecting and being freed by listening to the voices of ordinary people. An abolitionist book for this moment, for this time when free speech slumbers in chains." -- Ibram X. Kendi, National Book Award-winning and #1 New York Times Bestselling Author

"An urgent and illuminating work about the stranglehold the rich and powerful have on free speech. And, what is essential to defend the voice of individuals in order to protect the freedoms of all." -- Bakari Sellers, New York Times bestselling author of My Vanishing Country

"Ellis Cose is a strong, brilliant, original writer dealing with the most important issues of our democracy--good and bad speech, the broken electoral college, our awful voter suppression problem, race, and the coronavirus crisis. His writings on divisive issues, past and present, come from a unique and compelling perspective." -- Martin Garbus, author of Courting Disaster: The Supreme Court and the Unmaking of American Law and North of Havana

"During this period of social disruption, misinformation and political uncertainty, Ellis Cose brilliantly outlines past battles to protect and expand the First Amendment to exercise our right to be heard and to speak truth to power. . . . As importantly, Cose brings us face-to-face with the reality that dark money and darker science are suborning truth to invented realities, and makes us face the fact that our proposition that free speech will out the truth, will instead be drowned in crashing waves of willful misinformation." -- Donna Brazile, New York Times bestselling author of Hacks, and Veteran Political Strategist and former Chair, Democratic National Committee

"This timely, compelling narrative guides its readers toward understanding the complex twists and turns of free speech in America. This engrossing journey includes a diagnosis and dissection of a broken system with hope for a resurrection of free expression for individuals struggling to be heard and understood. A rigorous argument for a new trajectory for the First Amendment. Unfettered free speech may be greatly threatened, but don't count it out...even amid a pandemic and cries for justice." -- Everette E. Dennis, Ph.D., professor, Medill School of Journalism, formerly Dean and CEO, Northwestern University in Qatar

"As Ellis Cose observes in his provocative and timely new book, 'free speech' has always been contested terrain, not a fixed star. With most Americans now getting their news and information from private platforms that seek to 'engage' rather than enlighten and that are optimized for corporate profits rather than public interest, the need for a critical analysis of the purpose of free speech has never been more urgent. Even readers who will view Cose's 'death' notice as premature - perhaps especially those readers - will find much to grapple with here." -- Ben Wizner, Director, ACLU Speech, Privacy & Technology Project

"With searing clarity, Ellis Cose explores what happens when as a society, we coddle the powerful and privileged--even when they enable the forces of hate and pursue anti-democratic goals--at the expense of the people. . . . This book is both an indictment of our social and political landscape and a source for inspiration, offering a way forward for building a 21st century democracy--one where all of our voices are valued and heard." -- Vanita Gupta, Associate U.S. Attorney General