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The Tyranny of Silence Hardcover – November 14, 2014
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This is the best book I have ever read on what we lose when we lose our courage to defend free speech in all its forms, including the one I hold very dear, cartoons. If you only read one book on this subject, read this one. If you want to read two books, read this twice. (Bob Mankoff, Cartoon Editor, The New Yorker)
This is a compelling argument for free speech and the freedom to criticize. Flemming Rose recounts his life and the incredible risks he has taken to defend a liberty threatened everywhere, not only in the Middle East and in Russia but also in the very heart of the Western world. His testimony is a moving story of courage, principle and a love of liberty. (Mario Vargas Llosa, Recipient of the Nobel Prize in Literature) --This text refers to the Paperback edition.
About the Author
Flemming Rose M.A., is a journalist and Foreign Editor at Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten. After 14 years of working as a foreign correspondent in Russia and the USA, he returned home to Denmark in 2004.
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Top Customer Reviews
Other reviewers have gone into more specific details, but I would like to add that his brief mention of Charlie Hebdo was chilling given recent events on that front.
It also has some very funny moments. His commentary on a pig contemplating its options is worth the price of the book all by itself.
I learned a lot as I read the book. There are stories of truly heroic individuals as well as detailed discussions of ideas important to free speech and a free society. Here are just a few of the items that I found to be of special interest:
• The importance of distinguishing words and deeds.
• The Soviets dissidents, the power of ideas and “the personal non-participation in lies.” The stories and heroism of Lyubarsky, Sakharov, Solzhenitsyn, Sharansky and others were both inspirational and educational. (Sharansky’s discussion on free versus fear societies was especially illuminating).
• Inspirational stories of Muslim dissidents (and their views on rights and speech). One powerful quote from Maryam Namazie: “They try to tell people that ideas, religions, and cultures can lay claim to rights because someone says they’re sacred, but only people are sacred and entitled to rights.”
• The individual versus group models of toleration and of society and the implications they have for free speech
• The dangers of hate speech codes including 5 recent stories where claims of wounded religious feelings were used to persecute critics
I highly recommend this book and hope that it attains very wide readership. The stories demonstrate the real-life implications of the ideas discussed in the book. Free Speech and the right to offend are of critical importance to a free and open society. As Flemming Rose notes towards the end of the book:
“As societies become increasingly multicultural, multiethnic, and multireligious, if we accept the idea that people have a right not to be offended, we will end up with a tyranny of silence, for almost any speech may be deemed offensive.”
Most Recent Customer Reviews
The best part, in my opinion, is his putting the backlash in wider and historical contexts.Read more