3 internautes sur 3 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile
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For anyone seriously interested in the First Amendment, this treatise by Levy is a historical and legal masterwork. Contrary to the typically rosy view of early American history, Levy shows that the idea of a free and unrestrained press was not sacred from the moment the pilgrims touched down, and ensuring a free press via the First Amendment was and is a continual struggle. Plenty of pre-revolution laws restricted the press, with many colonists arbitrarily prosecuted for criticizing those in power. Even after the First Amendment was passed, the free press clause has been periodically assaulted by horrifically misguided laws like the Alien and Sedition Acts of 1798. So despite history class rhetoric about a supposed undying belief in a free press amongst our nation's founders, Levy provides boatloads of evidence that this was not the case in reality, and that a free press could be taken away from us via legal and constitutional arguments that were disturbingly successful in the past.
Beyond these groundbreaking historical insights, which once again are essential to the interested student of First Amendment theory, this book has some real readability issues. First, Levy is unnecessarily obsessed with brain drain words like "calumniate," "animadvertive," "contumacious," and my personal favorite "ipsedixitism." But that's merely a cosmetic quibble. More fundamentally, Levy's historical construction of the book results in a highly repetitive and interminable list of historical events and court cases in which the outcomes were largely the same - a lack of protection for a free press. This is inherently tiresome for the reader because you can figure out the point near the beginning of the book, so the historical coverage becomes mere information overload at a ridiculous level. For the passionate researcher, I would recommend consulting portions of this book individually as robust and authoritative sources on First Amendment history. For the interested reader, prepare for an eventually rewarding read after a long struggle. [~doomsdayer520~]
7 internautes sur 9 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile
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This book is essential reading for anyone who is interested in the history of the First Amendment. Levy is the starting point for debate on what freedom of the press meant to the framers of the first amendment. Levy contends that the framers had a very limited conception of freedom of the press, and presents a wealth of evidence of suppression of press freedoms in colonial America. There is a wealth of interesting information in this book, although it is not casual reading by any stretch of the imagination. Moreover, many scholars have criticized Levy for ignoring both the actual practices of colonial printers--who behaved as if they were quite free despite the law--and for ignoring the philosophical contributions of English Whig thinkers to the American conception of press freedom. In my view, you have to start with Levy if you are interested in this topic, but you shouldn't stop with him.