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Vroman's Live - Ellis Cose, in conversation with Martin Garbus, discusses The Short Life and Curious Death of Free Speech in America


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Vroman's Live presents Ellis Cose, in conversation with Martin Garbus, on Wednesday September 30 at 6pm

This virtual event will take place live on Crowdcast! Register ahead of time to save your spot and get an email reminder.


Free speech has long been one of American's most revered freedoms. Yet now, more than ever, free speech is reshaping America's social and political landscape even as it is coming under attack. Bestselling author and critically acclaimed journalist Ellis Cose wades into the debate to reveal how this Constitutional right has been coopted by the wealthy and politically corrupt.

It is no coincidence that historically huge disparities in income have occurred at times when moneyed interests increasingly control political dialogue. Over the past four years, Donald Trump's accusations of "fake news," the free use of negative language against minority groups, "cancel culture," and blatant xenophobia have caused Americans to question how far First Amendment protections can--and should--go.

Cose offers an eye-opening wholly original examination of the state of free speech in America today, litigating ideas that touch on every American's life. Social media meant to bring us closer, has become a widespread disseminator of false information keeping people of differing opinions and political parties at odds. The nation--and world--watches in shock as white nationalism rises, race and gender-based violence spreads, and voter suppression widens. The problem, Cose makes clear, is that ordinary individuals have virtually no voice at all. He looks at the danger of hyper-partisanship and how the discriminatory structures that determine representation in the Senate and the electoral college threaten the very concept of democracy. He argues that the safeguards built into the Constitution to protect free speech and democracy have instead become instruments of suppression by an unfairly empowered political minority.

But we can take our rights back, he reminds us. Analyzing the experiences of other countries, weaving landmark court cases together with a critical look at contemporary applications, and invoking the lessons of history, including the Great Migration, Cose sheds much-needed light on this cornerstone of American culture and offers a clarion call for activism and change. (Amistad Press)

Ellis Cose is the author of a dozen books on issues of national and international concern, including the best-selling The Rage of a Privileged Class, a novel (The Best Defense), and Democracy, If we Can Keep It, the definitive history of the American Civil Liberties Union. A Chicago native, Cose holds a master’s degree in science, technology and public policy from George Washington University, and lives in New York City. He began his career with the Chicago Sun-Times, where he was a columnist, editor and national correspondent. He has been a contributor and press critic for Time magazine, chief executive officer of the Institute for Journalism Education, chief writer on management and workplace issues for USA Today and a member of the editorial board of the Detroit Free Press. He has held fellowships at the Gannett Center for Media Studies at Columbia University, the University of California, the National Research Council/National Academy of Sciences, and other prestigious institutions. He is a former chairman of the editorial board and editorial page editor of the New York Daily News as well as an independent radio documentary producer. Cose was the inaugural writer in residence for the ACLU. He has appeared on a range of national and international news programs, including Dateline, ABC News, and Good Morning America.

Martin Garbus is one of the country’s leading trial lawyers. Garbus has appeared before the United States Supreme Court as well as trial and appellate courts throughout the nation, in over 100 cases. He has diverse litigation experience including copyright, intellectual property, commercial, corporate, criminal defense, First Amendment, free speech, estates, class action, entertainment, libel, and Internet law. Garbus has also taught trial practice at the Yale Law School and Constitutional law at Columbia. He is the author of six books and numerous articles that have appeared in the New York Times, the Washington Post, the Los Angeles Times and various legal publications. He has given hundreds of speeches on various aspects of law before Bar Associations, corporations, and law schools, as well as on CBS, NBC, ABC, CNN, and other television and radio networks.

Event date: 
Wednesday, September 30, 2020 - 6:00pm
Event address: 
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ISBN: 9780062999719
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
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