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Rights at Risk: The Limits of Liberty in Modern America Hardcover – Deckle Edge, March 6, 2012

4.3 out of 5 stars 8 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

“Fascinating . . . Monumental . . . Shipler is particularly good at weaving together legal history and personal storytelling.”
            -Richard McGill Murphy, Fortune
 
“Shipler doesn’t mince words or shy away from the hard issues . . . The writing is precise, interesting, and frequently moving . . . His coverage, concreteness, and willingness to candidly take on the range of issues make this a terrific book for anyone interested in our rights and liberties.”
            -David Kairys, Philadelphia Inquirer
 
“There are many books about the stories behind Supreme Court cases. Shipler’s distinctive contribution is the thoroughness and originality of his reporting.”
            -Jeffrey Rosen, The Washington Post
 
“Fascinating and provocative . . . This book is a must for readers who want to stay informed of their rights in the shadowy territory where the government’s need for order and security overstep constitutional protections.”
            -Starred review, Publishers Weekly
 
“Well-reported . . . No matter the issue, Shipler humanizes the discussion throughout, linking each topic to stories of real people silenced, marginalized, neglected, bullied, even brutalized by a government that should know better.”
            -Kirkus
 
“An eye-opening and troubling look at failures in the criminal justice system that put at risk the rights of all citizens.”
            -Booklist
 
“David Shipler's important new book powerfully reminds us that our constitutional rights are little more than words on paper if we fail to take them seriously when it's inconvenient or even painful to do so.”
            -Linda Greenhouse, author of Becoming Justice Blackmun
 
“David Shipler’s Rights at Risk is simply a wonderful book. It lays out, more powerfully than anything else I have read, how our constitutional rights have been whittled away in recent years—by presidents and judges and police chiefs. All in the name of national security or safe streets. More than a cry in the night, it is a careful, intensely researched account of a dangerous trend that not enough of us have noticed. Not just law, it is human drama.”
            -Anthony Lewis, author of Gideon’s Trumpet
 
“In Rights at Risk, Shipler continues his project of showing us how the constitutional rights we exalt in theory are being undermined in practice. This masterful and illuminating book reports how our criminal justice system frequently omits the justice, and how we are not as free to speak out to and against the government as we might like to think. The Constitution needs our help to survive, and reading this book is a valuable first step to reclaiming our fundamental values of fairness and equality for ourselves and for future generations.”
            -Susan Herman, President of American Civil Liberties Union and author of Taking Liberties

“Shipler argues that although a basic knowledge of the Bill of Rights by all citizens is not possible to achieve, we need to maintain a robust ‘Constitutional culture.’ By reading this book and discussing it with others, you will be doing your part.”
            -Portland Book Review

 

About the Author

David K. Shipler reported for The New York Times from 1966 to 1988 in New York, Saigon, Moscow, Jerusalem, and Washington, D.C. He is the author of five other books, including the best sellers Russia and The Working Poor, as well as Arab and Jew, which won the Pulitzer Prize. Shipler, who has been a guest scholar at the Brookings Institution and a senior associate at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, has taught at Princeton University; at American University in Washington, D.C.; and at Dartmouth College. He writes online at The Shipler Report.
 
www.shiplerreport.blogspot.com
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Knopf; F First Edition edition (March 6, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0307594866
  • ISBN-13: 978-0307594860
  • Product Dimensions: 6.4 x 1.3 x 9.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #942,667 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Lynne Stewart is being punished for being the lawyer representing poor and despised people we need more lawyers like her and William M. Kunstler may he rest in peace there is no justice in America for lawyers like Lynne Stewart you ask why would I say that turn to the top of page 104 "She was prosecuted, convicted, disbarred, and sentenced to twenty-eight months in prison......." The section ZONING OUT FREE SPEECH beginning on page 242 is more must read material on what is happening in present day America everyone in this country needs to read this book.
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Format: Hardcover
Whether you are on the political right, left, or center, this is a book that you need to read. I don't say it lightly, and "must read" is a term thrown around to the point of cliche. But that's what I mean... if you are concerned American, you simply must read this.

Journalist David Shipler has done us a service with Rights at Risk. Most of use have grown up believing that our adversarial justice system is quite fair, that our right to speak, peaceably demonstrate, and petition the government "shall not be infringed," that we have a sphere of personal privacy guaranteed us by our Constitution and government. In this book, Shipler recounts just how much these used-to-be truths are eroding. Particularly, ever since Sept. 11th (but certainly not ONLY since then), our justice system has become more weighted toward the rights of the prosecution, our First and Fourth amendment rights have become subject to much more 'balancing" (where government courts get to decide when rights are outweighed by compelling government interests), and more.

Much of the book is spent on civil rights...rights to a fair and speedy trial, rights to a trial by jury, rights delimiting what police and prosecutors can do. One concern Shipler is concerned to document is the murky territory of what counts as a coerced confession. Police can lie to suspects (claiming they have evidence they don't have), employ pretty harsh psychological tactics to wear suspects down, threaten suspects with fictitious legal action in order to scare them into confession, etc. (And this is not even close to what the military allows...even during the Obama administration).
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
An extremely illuminating book on how what we thought were our rights have diminished with time, occurrences and the courts. A must read for those who think that "everything is fine" with our justice system.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I really enjoyed Rights at Risk. Shipler covers the dark side of our criminal justice system. It's a tough but necessary read. Shipler discusses many of the bad elements: Abusive and unethical prosecutors coercing false confessions, unfair and punitive immigration laws, underpaid and unprepared defense lawyers; all of these are a part of our justice system.

The best part was Shipler's story of the young who knows the cops are framing him and won't accept the actual facts, so he manufactures a false confession--claiming he stopped at his grandfather's house when his grandfather was deceased. Both exciting and with a valuable message, Rights at Risk is a great read.
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