An eye-opening, relevant and cautionary book.



A lawyerly look at what threatens journalistic free speech liberties.

As a former journalist, Gajda (Law/Tulane Univ.; The Trials of Academe: The New Era of Campus Litigation, 2009) critiques and advises on matters of privacy and free speech with a keen journalistic eye. She explores the ways public scrutiny by news media (while protected under the guise of “newsworthiness”) tarnishes the notion of public privacy. As First Amendment constitutional protections for the press continue to expand, the “balance between privacy rights and public interests” becomes increasingly skewed. The author cites the current wave of ubiquitous social media, where personal information is willingly and willfully disseminated, as a prime instigator fueling the privacy rights debate. But at what point do First Amendment rights trump personal privacy rights? Her thoughtful discussion includes chapters juxtaposing journalism’s former golden age with the lax media standards of today’s paparazzi and shock reporters, where “push-the-envelope behavior has elevated privacy concerns to new levels.” Writing in concise, authoritative language, Gajda reiterates the significance of free speech, freedom of the press and the preservation of personal liberties within a complex debate that has become frustratingly blurred by legal ambiguities and loopholes. Fully utilizing (if overly reliant upon) pivotal court cases, she also highlights ruthless vigilante programs like To Catch a Predator and stories of misbehaving celebrities who have been scrutinized for wrongdoings by exploitative websites infamous for straddling ethical boundaries. Ultimately, Gajda writes, this is subject matter that will fester for decades as digital and social media erode the protective facade of personal privacy and evaporate the guidelines of what is considered newsworthy. She concludes with an appeal for change in how the law appropriates the First Amendment framework in both the private sector and within news media circles.

An eye-opening, relevant and cautionary book.

Pub Date: Jan. 5, 2015

ISBN: 978-0674368323

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Harvard Univ.

Review Posted Online: Nov. 6, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2014

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From the national correspondent for PBS's MacNeil-Lehrer Newshour: a moving memoir of her youth in the Deep South and her role in desegregating the Univ. of Georgia. The eldest daughter of an army chaplain, Hunter-Gault was born in what she calls the ``first of many places that I would call `my place' ''—the small village of Due West, tucked away in a remote little corner of South Carolina. While her father served in Korea, Hunter-Gault and her mother moved first to Covington, Georgia, and then to Atlanta. In ``L.A.'' (lovely Atlanta), surrounded by her loving family and a close-knit black community, the author enjoyed a happy childhood participating in activities at church and at school, where her intellectual and leadership abilities soon were noticed by both faculty and peers. In high school, Hunter-Gault found herself studying the ``comic-strip character Brenda Starr as I might have studied a journalism textbook, had there been one.'' Determined to be a journalist, she applied to several colleges—all outside of Georgia, for ``to discourage the possibility that a black student would even think of applying to one of those white schools, the state provided money for black students'' to study out of state. Accepted at Michigan's Wayne State, the author was encouraged by local civil-rights leaders to apply, along with another classmate, to the Univ. of Georgia as well. Her application became a test of changing racial attitudes, as well as of the growing strength of the civil-rights movement in the South, and Gault became a national figure as she braved an onslaught of hostilities and harassment to become the first black woman to attend the university. A remarkably generous, fair-minded account of overcoming some of the biggest, and most intractable, obstacles ever deployed by southern racists. (Photographs—not seen.)

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 1992

ISBN: 0-374-17563-2

Page Count: 192

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 1992

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Necessarily swift and adumbrative as well as inclusive, focused, and graceful.


A light-speed tour of (mostly) Western poetry, from the 4,000-year-old Gilgamesh to the work of Australian poet Les Murray, who died in 2019.

In the latest entry in the publisher’s Little Histories series, Carey, an emeritus professor at Oxford whose books include What Good Are the Arts? and The Unexpected Professor: An Oxford Life in Books, offers a quick definition of poetry—“relates to language as music relates to noise. It is language made special”—before diving in to poetry’s vast history. In most chapters, the author deals with only a few writers, but as the narrative progresses, he finds himself forced to deal with far more than a handful. In his chapter on 20th-century political poets, for example, he talks about 14 writers in seven pages. Carey displays a determination to inform us about who the best poets were—and what their best poems were. The word “greatest” appears continually; Chaucer was “the greatest medieval English poet,” and Langston Hughes was “the greatest male poet” of the Harlem Renaissance. For readers who need a refresher—or suggestions for the nightstand—Carey provides the best-known names and the most celebrated poems, including Paradise Lost (about which the author has written extensively), “Kubla Khan,” “Ozymandias,” “The Charge of the Light Brigade,” Wordsworth and Coleridge’s Lyrical Ballads, which “changed the course of English poetry.” Carey explains some poetic technique (Hopkins’ “sprung rhythm”) and pauses occasionally to provide autobiographical tidbits—e.g., John Masefield, who wrote the famous “Sea Fever,” “hated the sea.” We learn, as well, about the sexuality of some poets (Auden was bisexual), and, especially later on, Carey discusses the demons that drove some of them, Robert Lowell and Sylvia Plath among them. Refreshingly, he includes many women in the volume—all the way back to Sappho—and has especially kind words for Marianne Moore and Elizabeth Bishop, who share a chapter.

Necessarily swift and adumbrative as well as inclusive, focused, and graceful.

Pub Date: April 21, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-300-23222-6

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Yale Univ.

Review Posted Online: Feb. 9, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2020

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