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The Right to Speak Out in America

by Elaine Pascoe

Age Range: 12 & up

Pub Date: Dec. 15th, 1992
ISBN: 1-56294-255-7
Publisher: Millbrook

 Solidly written if uninvolving summary of issues raised in court cases testing the limits of freedom of expression. In topical fashion, Pascoe covers political speech, ``fighting words,'' slander and libel, violations of ``community standards,'' and students' rights, with examples as up-to-date as military censorship in the Persian Gulf and recent attempts to muzzle racism on college campuses. She fairly presents the views of those who want to limit expression in specific situations (e.g., opposing a Nazi march in a village populated largely by Holocaust survivors), and her tone is generally objective, though her journalist's concern for the ``right to know'' is clear. Illustrations are a few b&w portraits of figures in legal decisions (like Mary Beth Tinker, who won the right to wear an antiwar armband to school), plus cartoons. Klinkner's The First Amendment (1991) is a more approachable chronological treatment, with more illustrations and some terms omitted here (``heckler's veto,'' etc.). Pascoe's more sophisticated language will please budding lawyers. List of freedom-defending organizations (including ALA); source notes; bibliography; index. (Nonfiction. 12+)