The Rights of the People by David K. Shipler
How Our Search for Safety Invades Our Liberties

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Synopsis

From the best-selling author of The Working Poor, an impassioned, incisive look at the violations of civil liberties in the United States that have accelerated over the past decade—and their direct impact on our lives.

How have our rights to privacy and justice been undermined? What exactly have we lost? Pulitzer Prize–winner David K. Shipler searches for the answers to these questions by examining the historical expansion and contraction of our fundamental rights and, most pointedly, the real-life stories of individual men and women who have suffered. This is the account of what has been taken—and of how much we stand to regain by protesting the departures from the Bill of Rights.

With keen insight and telling detail, Shipler describes how the Supreme Court’s constitutional rulings play out on the streets as Washington, D.C., police officers search for guns in poor African American neighborhoods, how a fruitless search warrant turns the house of a Homeland Security employee upside down, and how the secret surveillance and jailing of an innocent lawyer result from an FBI lab mistake. Each instance—often as shocking as it is compelling—is a clear illustration of the risks posed to individual liberties in our modern society. And, in Shipler’s hands, each serves as a powerful incitement for a retrieval of these precious rights.

A brilliant, immeasurably important book for our time.


From the Hardcover edition.
 

About David K. Shipler

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David K. Shipler worked for the New York Times from 1966 to 1988, reporting from New York, Saigon, Moscow, and Jerusalem before serving as chief diplomatic correspondent in Washington, D.C. He has also written for The New Yorker, the Washington Post, and the Los Angeles Times. He is the author of three other books-Russia: Broken Idols, Solemn Dreams; the Pulitzer Prize-winning Arab and Jew: Wounded Spirits in a Promised Land; and A Country of Strangers: Blacks and Whites in America. Mr. 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 lives in Chevy Chase, Maryland.
 
Published April 19, 2011 by Vintage. 400 pages
Genres: History, Political & Social Sciences. Non-fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for The Rights of the People

Kirkus Reviews

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A Pulitzer Prize winner resumes his well-reported account of the assault on our constitutional rights in a post-9/11 world.

Jan 15 2012 | Read Full Review of The Rights of the People: How...

Kirkus Reviews

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As the country wages simultaneous “wars” against drugs and terrorism, a former New York Times reporter and Pulitzer Prize–winning author warns against trading our freedoms for the illusion of security.

Apr 20 2011 | Read Full Review of The Rights of the People: How...

The New York Times

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It’s evident from the opening pages of “The Rights of the People” that this is going to be a very different book from “Arab and Jew” or, for that matter, Shipler’s most recent previous effort, “The Working Poor.” Those were both works of reportage in which Shipler relied heavily on a cast of memo...

Jun 10 2011 | Read Full Review of The Rights of the People: How...

Publishers Weekly

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The wars on crime and terrorism have turned into a war on privacy and freedom, according to this provocative but sometimes overwrought exposé of infringements of the Bill of Rights. In this first of t

Feb 07 2011 | Read Full Review of The Rights of the People: How...

Publishers Weekly

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We meet an American terror suspect abused and held indefinitely without access to attorneys, three Rwandan prisoners who falsely confess to FBI agents to avoid further torture by interrogators in their own country, a 17-year-old Long Island boy who does the same after a cop lies to him about his ...

Jan 16 2012 | Read Full Review of The Rights of the People: How...

BC Books

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There have been many changes over time, including the addition of The Bill of Rights, the 1917 Espionage Act, and 1918 Sedition Act, and changes during the McCarthy era and beyond that gave government more and increasing power over the personal lives of American citizens.

Mar 15 2012 | Read Full Review of The Rights of the People: How...

Christian Science Monitor

More than 200 years ago, Benjamin Franklin wrote, “Those who would give up essential Liberty to purchase a little temporary Safety deserve neither Liberty nor Safety.” David K.

Mar 22 2012 | Read Full Review of The Rights of the People: How...

Washington Independent Review of Books

Callahan, also decided in 2009, in which the Court concluded that, in cases in which a government officer is ultimately entitled to immunity, lower courts need not even bother deciding whether or not the officer actually broke the law — never mind that, without such a statement, the next officer ...

| Read Full Review of The Rights of the People: How...

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Sandusky scandal costs rose $13.4 million for Penn State in December Pittsburgh to offer free St. Patrick's Day shuttle between Second Avenue and South Side Deadline of April 1 set to collect money Pittsburgh owes to 900 people Dozens may have...

Jun 26 2011 | Read Full Review of The Rights of the People: How...

Philly.com

“Constitutional rights are routinely overwhelmed,” he says in his new book, Rights at Risk, “largely out of sight in criminal courts and interrogation rooms, in offices of prosecutors and immigration bureaucrats, and in schools.” While we talk about freedom and liberty a lot, there has been littl...

May 13 2012 | Read Full Review of The Rights of the People: How...

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