> Bless Their Hearts Mom: Book Review: Free Speech by Jonathan Zimmerman
Tuesday, April 6, 2021

Book Review: Free Speech by Jonathan Zimmerman

Disclosure / Disclaimer: I received this ebook free of charge, from new Idea Press via Edelweissplus, for review purposes on this blog. No compensation, monetary or in kind, has been received or implied for this post. Nor was I told how to post about it, all opinions are my own

Subtitled:: And Why You Should Give a Damn takes a historical approach; only by looking backwards can we appreciate how far we have come thanks to free speech, and why we cannot turn our backs on it now


In America we like to think we live in a land of liberty, where everyone can say whatever they want. Throughout our history, however, we have also been quick to censor people who offend or frighten us. We talk a good game about freedom of speech, then we turn around and deny it to others. In this brief but bracing book, historian Jonathan Zimmerman and Pulitzer Prize-winning cartoonist Signe Wilkinson tell the story of free speech in America: who established it, who has denounced it, and who has risen to its defense. They also make the case for why we should care about it today, when free speech is once again under attack. Across the political spectrum, Americans have demanded the suppression of ideas and images that allegedly threaten our nation. But the biggest danger to America comes not from speech but from censorship, which prevents us from freely governing ourselves. Free speech allows us to criticize our leaders. It lets us consume the art, film, and literature we prefer. And, perhaps most importantly, it allows minorities to challenge the oppression they suffer. While any of us are censored, none of us are free.


If everything in the synopsis sounded great to you, then feel free to click over to a different post- because what you just read about censorship doesn't apply to the author, or this book. SIGH...

I literally had just had a 2 hour long, college level discussion with m daughter about why the constitution PROTECTS our right of free speech and how censorship is EVERYWHERE right now, and no one seems to give a damn about protecting our right UNDER law, before I started reading this book.So imagine my shock when the first chapter is all anti-Trump and Republicans....ok so neutrality may be out the window....but then the anti- them diatribe continued and continued and continued...I felt like by the 4th chapter I was reading the liberals understanding of what they WANT free speech to mean and how they have ignored historical facts to get there....

Thinking maybe it was just MY take- I handed the book over to my daughter and told her to have a go at it,  Somehow I wasn't surprised when she landed back an hour later, handing it back to me and asking WHY I wanted to read it, as she "couldn't get through one page without rolling her eyes 10 times". I then made her read the synopsis, and she said "nope, that is NOT this book"...

He tried. But it felt like he could not let his personal beliefs and opinions overshadow anything historical he was presenting. If you want a liberal take, get this book, otherwise avoid it.

About the Author

Jonathan Zimmerman is the Judy and Howard Berkowitz Professor in Education at the University of Pennsylvania. A former Peace Corps volunteer, he is the author of Campus Politics: What Everyone Needs to Know and seven other books. He is also a frequent op-ed contributor to The New York Times, the Washington Post, and other national newspapers and magazines. Zimmerman received the 2019 Open Inquiry Leadership Award from Heterodox Academy, which promotes viewpoint diversity in higher education. Signe Wilkinson was the first female to receive the Pulitzer Prize for editorial cartooning in 1992.

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