The Taming of Free Speech


Product Details

Publish Date
6.4 X 9.4 X 1.4 inches | 1.8 pounds

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Utterly brilliant...Balanced and restrained in her writing but original and subversive in her argument, Weinrib stops short of offering morals from this history...Most important, Weinrib reanimates a strange time when the forces of business and the forces of labor were engaged in a pitched battle about the way Americans should construct their economy. When you go looking for the origins of civil libertarianism, it turns out, you find a class struggle...Weinrib's book is an extraordinary reminder of why history matters to the present.
-- Samuel Moyn Wall Street Journal
[An] important revisionist history of the origins of American civil liberties...Offer[s] important correctives to the celebratory accounts of civil liberties that we so often tell ourselves.
-- David Cole New York Review of Books
The Taming of Free Speech is...a complex story about the evolution of political and legal tactics within competing organizations and among the notable cast of characters at their helm... [A] provocative book.
-- Sophia Rosenfeld Dissent
This excellent book chronicles the shift in the American Civil Liberties Union's conception of free speech from a natural right of labor to 'agitate' against capital through coercive tactics like aggressive picketing and strikes, to a 'tamer, ' value-neutral vision of free speech... Thoughtful and informative.
-- Burt Neuborne The Historian
In this well-written and thoroughly researched book, Weinrib explores the central role that the U.S. labor movement played in promoting civil liberties while advocating workers' rights and, sometimes, revolutionary change. Ultimately, Weinrib shows how labor's alliance with the ACLU helped to establish a new battleground in which labor eventually was destined to lose.
-- Rebecca E. Zietlow American Historical Review
A fascinating retelling of First Amendment history.
-- Anders Walker American Journal of Legal History
Provocative in its assessment of what the consequences of the 'taming of free speech' have been.
-- Donna T. Haverty-Stacke Law and History Review
Provides a fascinating look at the social, intellectual, and economic forces at work in the early 20th century, shaping the relationship of the economic classes to each other and to the government and resulting in the modern understanding of civil liberties.
-- Victor Baltera Massachusetts Law Review
Joins the select ranks of must reads for those interested in the history of American civil liberties...A deeply considered, smartly presented, genuinely insightful analysis of the evolution of the early civil liberties movement.
-- Robert C. Cottrell North Carolina Historical Review
Extremely original and well-written...[A] wide-ranging history.
-- David M. Rabban Reviews in American History
A fascinating read, as constitutional history and as storytelling...The book highlights the underappreciated foundational role of the interwar ACLU.
-- D. E. Smith Choice
This is a big, bold project, a painting on a large canvas, depicting many different scenes in the manner of a Brueghel painting or WPA mural. It is a major work of history which will, I am quite sure, remain for many years the authoritative account of the ACLU's pivotal role in producing our modern law of free expression.
-- Robert W. Gordon, Stanford Law School
Weinrib's important reconstruction of the history of our notions of free expression shows how an idea first offered on behalf of labor radicals became transformed into a general account of why all dissent from the conventional should be protected. The Taming of Free Speech is a major contribution to the history of civil liberties.
-- Mark Tushnet, Harvard Law School