Rights at Risk by David K. Shipler
The Limits of Liberty in Modern America

83%

7 Critic Reviews

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.
-Publishers Weekly

Synopsis

An enlightening, intensely researched examination of violations of the constitutional principles that preserve individual rights and civil liberties from courtrooms to classrooms.
 
With telling anecdote and detail, Pulitzer Prize–winner David K. Shipler explores the territory where the Constitution meets everyday America, where legal compromises—before and since 9/11—have undermined the criminal justice system’s fairness, enhanced the executive branch’s power over citizens and immigrants, and impaired some of the freewheeling debate and protest essential in a constitutional democracy.
 
Shipler demonstrates how the violations tamper with America’s safety in unexpected ways. While a free society takes risks to observe rights, denying rights creates other risks. A suspect’s right to silence may deprive police of a confession, but a forced confession is often false. Honoring the right to a jury trial may be cumbersome, but empowering prosecutors to coerce a guilty plea means evidence goes untested, the charge unproved. An investigation undisciplined by the Bill of Rights may jail the innocent and leave the guilty at large and dangerous. Weakened constitutional rules allow the police to waste precious resources on useless intelligence gathering and frivolous arrests. The criminal courts act less as impartial adjudicators than as conveyor belts from street to prison in a system that some disillusioned participants have nicknamed “McJustice.”
 
There is, always, a human cost. Shipler shows us victims of torture and abuse—not only suspected terrorists at the hands of the CIA but also murder suspects interrogated by the Chicago police. We see a poverty-stricken woman forced to share an attorney with her drug dealer boyfriend and sentenced to six years in prison when the conflict of interest turns her lawyer against her. We meet high school students suspended for expressing unwelcome political opinions. And we see a pregnant immigrant deported, after years of living legally in the country, for allegedly stealing a lottery ticket.
 
Often shocking, yet ultimately idealistic, Rights at Risk shows us the shadows of America where the civil liberties we rightly take for granted have been eroded—and summons us to reclaim them.
 

About David K. Shipler

See more books from this 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
 
Published March 6, 2012 by Vintage. 400 pages
Genres: History, Political & Social Sciences, Law & Philosophy. Non-fiction
Add Critic Review

Critic reviews for Rights at Risk
All: 7 | Positive: 6 | Negative: 1

Kirkus

Excellent
Reviewed by Kirkus' Reviews on Jan 15 2012

 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.

Read Full Review of Rights at Risk : The Limits o... | See more reviews from Kirkus

Publishers Weekly

Excellent
Reviewed by Publisher's Weekly on Jan 16 2012

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.

Read Full Review of Rights at Risk : The Limits o... | See more reviews from Publishers Weekly

NY Journal of Books

Below average
Reviewed by Robert Schaefer on Mar 05 2012

Rights at Risk is well written and argued, though after reading case after case of legal and illegal torture, abuse by police, and abuse by prosecutors, the impact tends to blur.

Read Full Review of Rights at Risk : The Limits o... | See more reviews from NY Journal of Books

Christian Science Monitor

Excellent
Reviewed by Amy Rowland on Mar 22 2012

What Shipler, a Pulitzer Prize winner, contributes is a narrative of the everyday experiences of individuals whose rights have been curtailed. 

Read Full Review of Rights at Risk : The Limits o...

CNN Money

Excellent
Reviewed by Richard McGill Murphy on Mar 30 2012

Shipler is particularly good at weaving together legal history and personal storytelling.

Read Full Review of Rights at Risk : The Limits o...

The Deepening

Good
Reviewed by DL Keur on Mar 02 2012

Often shocking, yet ultimately idealistic, Rights at Risk shows us the shadows of America where the civil liberties we rightly take for granted have been eroded—and summons us to reclaim them.

Read Full Review of Rights at Risk : The Limits o...

Elliot Bay Book

Good
Reviewed by Dani Alexis Rycamp

This is a must-read for anyone dedicated to upholding the rights and freedoms that define "American."

Read Full Review of Rights at Risk : The Limits o...

Rate this book!

Add Review
×