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Priests of Our Democracy: The Supreme Court, Academic Freedom, and the Anti-Communist Purge Hardcover – February 4, 2013


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 384 pages
  • Publisher: NYU Press (February 4, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0814790518
  • ISBN-13: 978-0814790519
  • Product Dimensions: 9.4 x 6.4 x 1.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,214,237 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"An excellent history of how the law has dealt with academic McCarthyism… Anyone with a stake in education [should read this book] for not only is it a good read about an important subject, but Heins tells a cautionary tale of an extensive and durable problem of which they are probably unaware."-Professor Andrew Feffer,History News Network

"Heins juxtaposes her compelling and distressing account of the anticommunist purges that reached into the ivory towers of our colleges and universities with a chilling cautionary tale that asks whether history is repeating itself through the repressive reactions to 9/11."-Stephen Rohde,Los Angeles Review of Books

“A fascinating read. Heins creatively blends social and legal history to show how the right to academic freedom was forged out of the struggles and passions of America’s worst days of political repression, and why academic freedom is more important than ever today.”-Nadine Strossen,former president, American Civil Liberties Union; professor, New York Law School

"Fact-filled, balanced, and yet thought-provoking … I recommend this book to students, scholars, and citizens who care about academic freedom and about the fate of public discourse inAmerica. I also recommend Priests of Our Democracy to those who worry that the war against terror has become in part a war against civil rights and civil liberties at home."-Jonah Raskin,Truthout

"In this insightful and illuminating history of academic freedom and the Constitution, Marjorie Heins brings to life the characters, controversies, and cases that have framed the evolution of this critical and contentious realm of American liberty."-Geoffrey R. Stone,Edward H. Levi Distinguished Service Professor of Law, University of Chicago

About the Author

Marjorie Heins is a civil liberties lawyer, writer, and teacher, and the founding director of the Free Expression Policy Project. Her previous book, Not in Front of the Children, won the American Library Association’s 2002 Eli Oboler Award for best published work in the field of intellectual freedom. Other books include Sex, Sin, and Blasphemy: A Guide to America's Censorship Wars; Cutting the Mustard: Affirmative Action and the Nature of Excellence; and Strictly Ghetto Property: The Story of Los Siete de la Raza. She is a graduate of Harvard Law School.


More About the Author

Marjorie Heins is a civil liberties lawyer, writer, and teacher, and the founding director of the Free Expression Policy Project (www.fepproject.org). Her recent book, "Priests of Our Democracy: The Supreme Court, Academic Freedom, and the Anti-Communist Purge," tells of the loyalty investigations and purges of teachers and professors during the McCarthy era, and the Supreme Court's eventual response, recognizing academic freedom as a "special concern of the First Amendment." Her previous book, "Not in Front of the Children," won the American Library Association's 2002 Eli Oboler Award for best published work in the field of intellectual freedom. In the 1990s, she directed the Arts Censorship Project at the ACLU; she has also been a fellow at the Brennan Center for Justice and the Frederic Ewen Center for Academic Freedom.

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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Painter Girl on February 7, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
"The Priests of Our Democracy,The Supreme Court, Academic Freedom and The Anti-Communist Purge" reminded me once again of the pleasure to be had from reading a well organized, balanced and relevant historical perspective on issues that affect America today.
The intimidation that existed in academia during the McCarthy years was not new to me; certainly many times I have wondered about the moral courage I might have had during those dark times. The book brought to life the professors, teachers and unions that suffered the times. What was new to me was an historical context going back to before the Popular Front, and to my surprise, I was interested in specific Supreme Court decisions and the legal history involved. Ms Heins, of course, points out how every era has had its scapegoats and prejudices that have challenged free inquiry. She affirms the particular necessity now to be vigilant when the exchange of ideas are suppressed in the service of for example, fighting terrorism or uncritically supporting our allies.. But I'm just scanning. Read the book. You too will find it rewarding to be engaged in such an informative, well organized, book about a dark period in our history. And to holding fast to a vision of America's potential for something better.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
If a foreign country disabled our best teachers, scientists,diplomats, artists and ordinary citizens their would be a call for a declaration of war. But starting in the 1930's it was not a foreign power that did this, It was a group of corrupt politicians (Senator McCarthy-who came later.,et.al,), bureaucrats ( Mr.Edgar Hoover and others in the Justice Department). lawyers. and paid perjurers who went on a crusade to promote their careers by promoting the myth of communist power over America,

Ms. Heins describes how loyalty oaths and lists of "subversive" organizations were used to crush reasonable discourse of complex problems, This discourse is needed to keep democracy strong. Most of the book deals with the New York teachers but they were among the key figures in the court cases that led to academic freedom.

The court cases are complex but Ms Heins outlines them so that a non-lawyer can follow the story as it unfolds. Anyone interested in academic freedom, the importance of the Bill of Rights and why this problem could recur in another guise should read this great book.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By arnold abelson on March 24, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
An outstanding well researched presentation of a blot on our record too often forgotten. Very readable for a sociological treatise .
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1 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Louis Budenz on May 23, 2013
Format: Hardcover
If you are looking for a book about how Priests who spoke out against communism were murdered by communists, this is not it. If you were looking for a book on how the Communists Constitution (Article 124) was the opposite of it's alleged "Freedom of Religion", this is not it.

This book is an interesting read from a communist sympathizer's perspective as it relates to the ambiguous "academic freedom" in a cunning mix to portray former communist members, sympathizers, and leftist professors as victims, and any methods used to uncover communist sympathizers in academia as the dreaded McCarthyism.

It is a book that "does not tolerate laws that cast a pall of orthodoxy over the classroom" unless the orthodoxy is anti-religious and pro-communist leaning. It is about one-sided "Free Expression" that excludes religion and actual history.

Very one sided pro-leftist book.

It will probably be a big seller at Colleges and Universities, so be forewarned.
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