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When the Nazis Came to Skokie (Landmark Law Cases & American Society) Paperback – March 24, 1999

ISBN-13: 978-0700609413 ISBN-10: 0700609415

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Product Details

  • Series: Landmark Law Cases & American Society
  • Paperback: 184 pages
  • Publisher: University Press of Kansas (March 24, 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0700609415
  • ISBN-13: 978-0700609413
  • Product Dimensions: 8.5 x 5.6 x 0.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #476,020 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

Strum (political science, CUNY) details the protracted legal battle between the city of Skokie and the Illinois chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) in 1977 and 1978. At issue was the right of the National Socialist Party of America, a neo-Nazi group, to stage an anti-Jewish demonstration in a suburban Chicago community whose population consisted substantially of Holocaust survivors. Skokie v. Collin became a classic First Amendment dispute, and Strum carefully and methodically traces the history and issues of the case all the way to the United States Supreme Court. Also insightful is Strum's treatment of the impact of the case on the ACLU and its Illinois chapter, which brought suit on behalf of the protest group's leader, Frank Collin. Citing Collin's First Amendment right to free speech, the ACLU was defending its cardinal principle. The paradox of the ACLU supporting a client with abhorrent views is a theme that pervades the book. Recommended for anyone seeking perspective on the First Amendment.APhilip Young Blue, New York State Supreme Court Criminal Branch Lib., New York
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From the Back Cover

"A meticulous and graceful narrative of one of the most gripping free speech conflicts of modern times."--Rodney A. Smolla, author of Free Speech in an Open Society

"Strum succeeds brilliantly in telling the two stories of Skokie-the constitutional struggle over free speech and the human agony and conflict that permeated it. In clear, rigorous, and vivid prose, she recreates the legal and political culture when the case arose in the 1970s and then shows how more recent intellectual theories bear on what happened. A simply wonderful book."--Norman Dorsen, Stokes Professor, NYU, and president, ACLU, 1976-1991

"Strum paints a remarkably complete picture of the entire Skokie controversy and helps put the debate over the First Amendment protection for 'hate speech' into meaningful perspective."--David Goldberger, Ohio State University College of Law professor and former ACLU attorney for Frank Collin and the National Socialist Party of America

"A book that students will read eagerly and that teachers will find a pleasure to use."--Melvin I. Urofsky, author of Affirmative Action on Trial: Sex Discrimination in Johnson v. Santa Clara

Customer Reviews

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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Michael Lewyn VINE VOICE on August 6, 2010
Format: Paperback
In 1977 and 1978, a few dozen American Nazis, led by half-Jewish Frank Collin (born Frank Cohn) sought to demonstrate in front of a suburban city hall for half an hour or so. Their efforts to do so mushroomed into a set of court cases and a national debate on the limits of free speech. This little book gives a blow-by-blow account of this story.

The most interesting parts of this story were the parts I didn't know. I knew that Nazis had tried to march in Skokie (a heavily Jewish suburb of Chicago)- but I didn't know that most of the excitement arose by chance.

To start with, Collin did not initially target Skokie. Instead, he sent letters to numerous suburbs asking for permission; every suburb but Skokie threw away the letters without response, while Skokie's park district bothered to reply (with a letter suggesting that the Nazis post an uncomfortably large bond). The Nazis then complained about the bond's constitutionality - proof that no good deed goes unpunished!

The city could have then allowed the march to occur with as little publicity as possible. Instead, it allowed the march and informed local rabbis, with the understanding that the rabbis would inform their congregation to ignore the Nazis. Instead, local Jews became outraged, causing city politicians to flip-flop and try to ban the Nazis from demonstrating, causing a national debate on whether Nazis could march through a suburb full of Holocaust survivors. (In fact, the Nazis did not seek to "march through" Skokie but merely to demonstrate in front of City Hall, relying on free media to carry their message).

Eventually, the courts decided that the Nazis could march. But the Nazis decided not to march, perhaps because of fear of violent counterdemonstrators, or perhaps because they had gotten more publicity out of the matter than they could have gotten from a demonstration.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By N. Perz on July 14, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
WtNCtS is a short but well-packaged narrative of the events surrounding this rather famous (but little understood) situation. It moves along nicely, resisting the temptations to become either overly legalistic or a personal soapbox. A good general work for anyone with a legal interest in the First Amendment or a historical interest in the incident.

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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Kimjongbill on October 13, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book does an excellent job explaining the complexities of freedom of speech. It seems simple until confronted with a vicious doctrine like the Nazis. But since these were US citizens, they also deserve the rights enshrined in the First Amendment. If you value your freedom, fight for everyone's freedom!
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