FREEDOM OF THE PRESS by William Chenery

FREEDOM OF THE PRESS

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Chenery examines the basic problems of freedom in America today- freedom of speech, press, radio, etc. in the light of American history, and through the experiences of Washington, Hamilton, Roger Williams, Paine, Zenger, and Jefferson. Censorship and repression in any form, whether of communists or ""obscene"" literature or libelous attacks, are viewed here among such precedents as the conflict over the Alien and Sedition Acts; Washington allowing the journalists Freneau and Bache to continue their wanton scurrilities just as Jefferson accepted Federalist charges that he stole public monies and had sexual relations with his Negro slaves; and the free accord given in Colonial times to Jacobin influence. Chenery then on a large handed way ranges over early British jurisprudence and the significance of Milton's Areopagitica, the deliberations and decisions of justices Woolsey and Holmes, the problems of the Italian film The Miracle, but there is no organized attempt to analyze the theory, development or social conflicts which form the concept of freedom. But his general conclusion that unrestricted freedom is inseparable from the American spirit, even if not altogether proved by this variety of historical evidence, is a happy affirmation of American idealism for the general reader.

Publisher: Harcourt, Brace