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The Decency Wars: The Campaign to Cleanse American Culture Hardcover – August 1, 2006

4.8 out of 5 stars 5 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

"This is a highly entertaining and also an important book. It tells the story of attempts to make America comply with ‘ decency ’ - as defined by genuine religious conservatives and by assorted puritans, busybodies, and political hypocrites. The hero is freedom of speech. The struggle goes on, and Frederick Lane has given us an indispensable guide to it."
Anthony Lewis, former New York Times columnist

About the Author

Frederick S. Lane (Burlington, VT) is the author of Obscene Profits and The Naked Employee, among other books dealing with the media, society, and law. He has appeared on ABC’s Nightline, CBS’s 60 Minutes, NPR’s Marketplace, the BBC, and many other television and radio programs as an expert on legal and First Amendment issues.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 367 pages
  • Publisher: Prometheus Books (August 1, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1591024277
  • ISBN-13: 978-1591024279
  • Product Dimensions: 6.4 x 1 x 9.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,719,957 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Top Customer Reviews

By Heidi Blanton on October 5, 2006
Format: Hardcover
From the cover and title, I could tell that this book was right up my alley, and it was hard to resist when it came out. The content ranged from historical to current, I learned so much about the history of these "decency wars" that I did not know, and I was refreshed on the incidents I was well aware of. For instance, I had no clue that the Puritan religious culture of our country can actually be traced back to Henry VIII! And of course the wrongs of the religious right are expertly exposed.

When I first started reading this book, my husband noted that the thing he doesn't like about non-fiction books is that they often expose a problem, but not the solution. I read non-fiction a lot, this doesn't bother me, but he is a little bit correct. This is exactly why I was happy that this book devoted the last chapter to a solution for fighting this particular problem. The bullets weren't a stretch to the things I already believe or already do, but what they did do was make me realize that there's more I need to do (without feeling like I wasn't already doing enough).

If you care a lot about anti-censorship, intellectual freedom, and the like, you will certainly enjoy this book.
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Format: Hardcover
THE DECENCY WARS: THE CAMPAIGN TO CLEANSE AMERICAN CULTURE doesn't come from a journalist like you'd expect, but from a First Amendment specialist who considers the country's changing attitudes toward decency, using newspaper headlines as a foundation for documenting cultural change. It's inappropriate for the government to regulate morality in this issue, Frederick S. Lane maintains, and his book packs in surveys of decency controversies from past and present years, charting how new media has fostered questionable issues on freedom and also fostered an answering flood of writings on whether decency should be regulated.

Diane C. Donovan

California Bookwatch
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Mr. Lane has written a persuasive polemic and history about attempts at censorship in the guise of protecting our children or the moral well-being of our culture. He lays out the utter futility of these efforts and reassures the reader who happens to have a more tolerant attitude about free speech. And with the advent of the Internet, activists with more of a puritanical bend are going to be about as effective as trying to stop a massive tidal wave with a fly swatter. A good book to read if you need some reassurance that draconian people such as Anthony Comstock will ultimately never prevail. I sleep better at night.
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Format: Hardcover
Having been on a bit of a politics jag over the Labor Day weekend (<cite>What's the Matter with Kansas</cite>; <cite>The Republican War on Science</cite>), <cite>Decency Wars</cite> was an obvious next book to read.

I'd seen Frederick Lane on Jon Stewart, and he seemed interesting. I've also been interested in censorship for many years, so I thought I'd give it a try.

<cite>Decency Wars</cite> turned out to be the best of the three books--not only does it do a fantastic job of covering the history and development of censorship and the concept of "decency" in America (including an overview of the evolution of American-style christianity, starting with Henry VIII!), but it also does an excellent job of bringing together and illuminating many of the elements making up today's political and cultural landscape, and even has some good suggestions for ways to address the problems that we're facing.

It's also very well written and extremely readable, making it a very enjoyable and valuable read.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Great run up to our present day concerns. I learned a lot.
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