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Fight of the Century: Writers Reflect on 100 Years of Landmark ACLU Cases

por Ayelet Waldman (Editor), Michael Chabon (Editor)

Outros autores: Rabih Alameddine (Contribuidor), Charlie Jane Anders (Contribuidor), Brit Bennett (Contribuidor), Geraldine Brooks (Contribuidor), Brenda J. Child (Contribuidor)34 mais, David Cole (Prefácio), Michael Cunningham (Contribuidor), Sergio de la Pava (Contribuidor), Anthony Doerr (Contribuidor), Jennifer Egan (Contribuidor), Timothy Egan (Contribuidor), Dave Eggers (Contribuidor), Louise Erdrich (Contribuidor), William Finnegan (Contribuidor), Neil Gaiman (Contribuidor), Andrew Sean Greer (Contribuidor), Lauren Groff (Contribuidor), Yaa Gyasi (Contribuidor), Daniel Handler (Contribuidor), Aleksandar Hemon (Contribuidor), Marlon James (Contribuidor), Victor Lavalle (Contribuidor), Adrian Nicole Leblanc (Contribuidor), Jonathan Lethem (Contribuidor), Yiyun Li (Contribuidor), Viet Thanh Nguyen (Contribuidor), Steven Okazaki (Contribuidor), Morgan Parker (Contribuidor), Ann Patchett (Contribuidor), Moriel Rothman-Zecher (Contribuidor), Salman Rushdie (Contribuidor), George Saunders (Contribuidor), Elizabeth Strout (Contribuidor), Moses Sumney (Contribuidor), Hector Tobar (Contribuidor), Scott Turow (Contribuidor), Jesmyn Ward (Contribuidor), Meg Wolitzer (Contribuidor), Jacqueline Woodson (Contribuidor)

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To mark its 100-year anniversary, the American Civil Liberties Union partners with award-winning authors Michael Chabon and Ayelet Waldman to bring together many of our greatest living writers, each contributing an original piece inspired by a historic ACLU case. On January 19, 1920, a small group of idealists and visionaries, including Helen Keller, Jane Addams, Roger Baldwin, and Crystal Eastman, founded the American Civil Liberties Union. A century after its creation, the ACLU remains the nation's premier defender of the rights and freedoms guaranteed by the Constitution. In collaboration with the ACLU, authors Michael Chabon and Ayelet Waldman have curated an anthology of essays about landmark cases in the organization's one-hundred-year history. Fight of the Century takes you inside the trials and the stories that have shaped modern life. Some of the most prominent cases that the ACLU has been involved in--Brown v. Board of Education, Roe v. Wade, Miranda v. Arizona--need little introduction. Others you may never even have heard of, yet their outcomes quietly defined the world we live in now. Familiar or little-known, each case springs to vivid life in the hands of the acclaimed writers who dive into the history, narrate their personal experiences, and debate the questions at the heart of each issue. Hector Tobar introduces us to Ernesto Miranda, the felon whose wrongful conviction inspired the now-iconic Miranda rights--which the police would later read to the man suspected of killing him. Yaa Gyasi confronts the legacy of Brown v. Board of Education, in which the ACLU submitted a friend of- the-court brief questioning why a nation that has sent men to the moon still has public schools so unequal that they may as well be on different planets. True to the ACLU's spirit of principled dissent, Scott Turow offers a blistering critique of the ACLU's stance on campaign finance. These powerful stories, along with essays from Neil Gaiman, Meg Wolitzer, Salman Rushdie, Ann Patchett, Viet Thanh Nguyen, Louise Erdrich, George Saunders, and many more, remind us that the issues the ACLU has engaged over the past one hundred years remain as vital as ever today, and that we can never take our liberties for granted. Chabon and Waldman are donating their advance to the ACLU and the contributors are forgoing payment.… (mais)
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FYI review:
-No More Flags by Viet Thanh Nguyen (Stromberg v. California, 1931)
-Scottsboro, USA by Jacqueline Woodson (Powell v, Alabama, 1932, Powell v. Alabama, 1935)
-The Dirtiest, Most Indecent, Obscene Thing Ever Written by Michael Chabon (United States v. One Book Called 'Ulysses,' 1933)
-The Brother-in-Law by Ann Patchett (Edwards v. California, 1941)
-Victory Formation by Brit Bennett (West Virgina State Board of Education v. Barnette, 1943, Amicus)
The Nail by Steven Okazaki (Korematsu v. United States, 1944)
-A Short Essay About Shorts by Daniel Handler (Hannegan v. Esquire, 1946, Amicus)
-They Talk Like That by Geraldine Brooks (Terminiello v. City of Chicago, 1949, Amicus)
-Rocket City by Yaa Gyasi (Brown v. Board of Education, 1954, Amicus)
-One Will Be Provided for You by Sergio De La Pava (Gideon v. Wainwright, 1963, Amicus)
-Legal Counsel at the Moment Most Crucial by Dave Eggers (Escobedo v. Illinois, 1964)
-How the First Amendment Finally Got Its Wing by Timothy Egan (New York Times v. Sullivan, 1964, Amicus)
-Your Mail Belongs to Us by Yiyun Li (Lamont v. Postmaster General, 1965, Amicus)
-Protection by Meg Wolitzer (Griswold v. Connecticut, 1965, Amicus)
-Ernesto's Prayer by Hector Tobar (Miranda v. Arizona, 1966, Amicus)
-Loving by Aleksandar Hemon (Loving v. Virginia, 1967)
-The Black Armband by Elizabeth Strout (Tinker v. Des Moines Independent School District, 1969)
-Crowd Work by Andrian Nicole LeBlance (Gregory v. City of Chicago, 1969)
-The Right to Offend by Rabih Alameddine (Street v. New York, 1969)
-On Jews, Blacks, the KKK, and Freedom of Speech by Moriel Rothman-Zecher (Brandenburg v. Ohio, 1969)
-Disturbing the War by Jonathan Lethem (Cohen v. California, 1971)
-Secrets and Lies by Salman Rushdie (New York Times v. United States, 1971)
-The Ambivalent Activist, Jane Roe by Lauren Groff (Roe v. Wade, 1973; Doe v. Bolton, 1973)
-A Nondangerous Person by Ayelet Waldman (O'Connor v. Donaldson, 1975)
-Father Sues for 'Mother's Benefits' by Jennifer Egan (Weinberger v. Wiesenfeld, 1975)
-Spending Money Isn't Speech (How the ACLU Ruined Campaign Finance Laws) by Scott Turow (Buckley v. Valeo, 1976)
-Bob Jones Builds a Wall by Morgan Parker (Bob Jones University v. United States, 1983)
-Some Gods Are Better Than Others by Victor LaValle (Church of the Lukumi Babalu Aye v. City of Hialeah, 1993)
-Queer, Irish, Marching by Michael Cunningham (Hurley v. Irish-American Gay, Lesbian, and Bisexual Group of Bost, 1995)
-"Because Girls Can read as Well as Boys," On Protecting the Children by Neil Gaiman (Reno v ACLU, 1997, Ashcroft v. ACLU, 2004)
-We Gather by Jesmyn Ward (City of Chicago v. Morales, 1999)
-Stateside Statelessness by Moses Sumney (Zadvydas v. Davis, 2001, Amicus)
-The Way the Law Leads Us by George Saunders (Griswold v. Connecticut, 1965, Amicus)
-Live from the Bedroom, The Culture War by Marlon James (Lawrence v. Texas, 2003)
-Habeas, Guantanamo, and the Forever War by William Finnegan (Rasul v. Bush, 2004)
-Who's Your Villain? by Anthony Doerr (Kitzmiller v. Dover Area School District, 2005)
-You've Given Me a Lot to Think About by Charlie Jane Anders (Schroer v. Billington, 2008)
-Relative Sovereignty: A Brief History of Indigenous Family Separation in the United States by Brenda J. Child (Adoptive Couple v. Baby Girl, 2013)
-We Love You, Edie Windsor by Andrew Sean Greer (United States v. Windsor, 2013)
-Surveillance Capitalism Versus Indigenous Led Protect by Louise Erdrich (ACLU v. United States Department of Defense, et. al., 2018) ( )
  Lemeritus | May 24, 2023 |
Excellent essays on important subjects. ( )
  CasSprout | Dec 18, 2022 |
In their introduction, editors Michael Chabon and Ayelet Waldman write, “To understand the vital role that the ACLU plays in American society requires a nuanced understanding of the absolute value of freedom of speech, freedom of assembly, freedom from unwanted search and seizure, of the right to due process and equal justice under the law, even – again, especially – when those rights protect people we find abhorrent or speech that offends us” (pg. xv). The book itself covers forty different cases presented in chronological order, from Stromberg v. California (1931) through ACLU v. United States Department of Defense, et al. (2018). Some authors, like Jacqueline Woodson on Powell v. Alabama (1932) and Patterson v. Alabama (1935) or Neil Gaiman on Reno v. ACLU (1997) and Ashcroft v. ACLU (2004), examine similar cases to show how rulings changed, were refined, or upheld. What emerges is a careful study of jurisprudence in defense of civil liberties over the last century. Fight of the Century is a necessary primer for anyone studying civil liberties.

Co-editor Michael Chabon writes the entry on United States v. One Book Called ‘Ulysses’, giving the background, “Over the previous sixty years the Supreme Court had consistently upheld the constitutionality of the federal Comstock Act, which banned obscene speech. The New York State antipornography laws were broad, loose, and vaguely worded. And the standard used to determine whether speech was obscene, the Hicklin test, appeared to be invincible” (pg. 17). Chabon explains that the danger of the Hicklin test was that “it could be applied piecemeal. The government had only to prove the obscenity of part of a book in order to ban it entirely. There was no obligation to consider context or the interpretations of a work as a whole” (pg. 17). Under Judge Woolsey’s ruling, however, “By definition, a work of literature could not be obscene, could not be pornographic, could not corrupt and deprave, could never be intended to arouse a reader, even if certain passages in said work dealt with sexual activity and bodily functions in plain, even vulgar terms” (pg. 23). Later, the editors summarize Hannegan v. Esquire (1946), in which the Supreme Court ruled that the postmaster general could not “serve as the arbiter of obscenity” such as when he attempted to revoke Esquire’s second-class postage status due to his objection to some images he felt were obscene (pg. 40).

Neil Gaiman discusses the role of telecommunications technology on censorship laws, specifically focusing on Reno v. ACLU (1997) and Ashcroft v. ACLU (2004). He writes of the background to the former, “Title V of the Telecommunications Act of 1996, better known as the Communications Decency Act (CDA). It was signed into law by President Clinton in 1996 and attempted to target indecency and obscenity on the Internet by making it a crime punishable by two years in jail, a $250,000 fine, or both, to engage in speech that was ‘indecent’ or ‘patently offensive,’ if that speech could be viewed by a minor” (pg. 200). While the Court struck down the law 7-2, Congress passed the Child Online Protection Act in 1998 to replace it. This had its own problems, including the fact that its use of the word “simulated” provided too much grounds for debate as did its reliance on the generalized “community standards” (pg. 201). Gaiman discusses how the Court decided Ashcroft v. ACLU partly due to its overreach and faulty understanding of technology, but also writes, “The decisions in both Reno and Ashcroft make explicit reference to the rights of adults, the former in part decided on the grounds that the CDA was an abridgement of the First Amendment because it didn’t allow parents to decide what material was acceptable for their children” (pg. 203). Gaiman concludes with a plea to understand that part of a parent’s responsibility is to protect their children, but it is also to help them grow rather than by restricting their access to material that will help them to do so.

Due to my current research, the essays most of interest to me were those related to censorship and obscenity case law, but the others offered valuable insight into ACLU’s activism. In many ways, Chabon and Waldman’s work recalls Peter Irons’ A People’s History of the Supreme Court and, like that work, is a necessary guide to American jurisprudence and civil liberties. An essential read for all studying the social sciences. ( )
1 vote DarthDeverell | Feb 12, 2020 |
This is a book I'll be coming back to again and again, both for my own reading and for use in courses I teach. It covers a huge range of civil rights cases, presenting them clearly and offering succinct, engaging reflections on them. This is the kind of writing, involving both research and personal reflection, that I encourage my students to do. If things go as I plan, I will use this as a class text for the first time next winter. ( )
  Sarah-Hope | Dec 31, 2019 |
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Nome do autorPapelTipo de autorObra?Estado
Waldman, AyeletEditorautor principaltodas as ediçõesconfirmado
Chabon, MichaelEditorautor principaltodas as ediçõesconfirmado
Alameddine, RabihContribuidorautor secundáriotodas as ediçõesconfirmado
Anders, Charlie JaneContribuidorautor secundáriotodas as ediçõesconfirmado
Bennett, BritContribuidorautor secundáriotodas as ediçõesconfirmado
Brooks, GeraldineContribuidorautor secundáriotodas as ediçõesconfirmado
Child, Brenda J.Contribuidorautor secundáriotodas as ediçõesconfirmado
Cole, DavidPrefácioautor secundáriotodas as ediçõesconfirmado
Cunningham, MichaelContribuidorautor secundáriotodas as ediçõesconfirmado
de la Pava, SergioContribuidorautor secundáriotodas as ediçõesconfirmado
Doerr, AnthonyContribuidorautor secundáriotodas as ediçõesconfirmado
Egan, JenniferContribuidorautor secundáriotodas as ediçõesconfirmado
Egan, TimothyContribuidorautor secundáriotodas as ediçõesconfirmado
Eggers, DaveContribuidorautor secundáriotodas as ediçõesconfirmado
Erdrich, LouiseContribuidorautor secundáriotodas as ediçõesconfirmado
Finnegan, WilliamContribuidorautor secundáriotodas as ediçõesconfirmado
Gaiman, NeilContribuidorautor secundáriotodas as ediçõesconfirmado
Greer, Andrew SeanContribuidorautor secundáriotodas as ediçõesconfirmado
Groff, LaurenContribuidorautor secundáriotodas as ediçõesconfirmado
Gyasi, YaaContribuidorautor secundáriotodas as ediçõesconfirmado
Handler, DanielContribuidorautor secundáriotodas as ediçõesconfirmado
Hemon, AleksandarContribuidorautor secundáriotodas as ediçõesconfirmado
James, MarlonContribuidorautor secundáriotodas as ediçõesconfirmado
Lavalle, VictorContribuidorautor secundáriotodas as ediçõesconfirmado
Leblanc, Adrian NicoleContribuidorautor secundáriotodas as ediçõesconfirmado
Lethem, JonathanContribuidorautor secundáriotodas as ediçõesconfirmado
Li, YiyunContribuidorautor secundáriotodas as ediçõesconfirmado
Nguyen, Viet ThanhContribuidorautor secundáriotodas as ediçõesconfirmado
Okazaki, StevenContribuidorautor secundáriotodas as ediçõesconfirmado
Parker, MorganContribuidorautor secundáriotodas as ediçõesconfirmado
Patchett, AnnContribuidorautor secundáriotodas as ediçõesconfirmado
Rothman-Zecher, MorielContribuidorautor secundáriotodas as ediçõesconfirmado
Rushdie, SalmanContribuidorautor secundáriotodas as ediçõesconfirmado
Saunders, GeorgeContribuidorautor secundáriotodas as ediçõesconfirmado
Strout, ElizabethContribuidorautor secundáriotodas as ediçõesconfirmado
Sumney, MosesContribuidorautor secundáriotodas as ediçõesconfirmado
Tobar, HectorContribuidorautor secundáriotodas as ediçõesconfirmado
Turow, ScottContribuidorautor secundáriotodas as ediçõesconfirmado
Ward, JesmynContribuidorautor secundáriotodas as ediçõesconfirmado
Wolitzer, MegContribuidorautor secundáriotodas as ediçõesconfirmado
Woodson, JacquelineContribuidorautor secundáriotodas as ediçõesconfirmado
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To the ACLU's clients, who for over 100 years have refused to accept injustice and have chosen to fight for civil liberties and civil rights.
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To mark its 100-year anniversary, the American Civil Liberties Union partners with award-winning authors Michael Chabon and Ayelet Waldman to bring together many of our greatest living writers, each contributing an original piece inspired by a historic ACLU case. On January 19, 1920, a small group of idealists and visionaries, including Helen Keller, Jane Addams, Roger Baldwin, and Crystal Eastman, founded the American Civil Liberties Union. A century after its creation, the ACLU remains the nation's premier defender of the rights and freedoms guaranteed by the Constitution. In collaboration with the ACLU, authors Michael Chabon and Ayelet Waldman have curated an anthology of essays about landmark cases in the organization's one-hundred-year history. Fight of the Century takes you inside the trials and the stories that have shaped modern life. Some of the most prominent cases that the ACLU has been involved in--Brown v. Board of Education, Roe v. Wade, Miranda v. Arizona--need little introduction. Others you may never even have heard of, yet their outcomes quietly defined the world we live in now. Familiar or little-known, each case springs to vivid life in the hands of the acclaimed writers who dive into the history, narrate their personal experiences, and debate the questions at the heart of each issue. Hector Tobar introduces us to Ernesto Miranda, the felon whose wrongful conviction inspired the now-iconic Miranda rights--which the police would later read to the man suspected of killing him. Yaa Gyasi confronts the legacy of Brown v. Board of Education, in which the ACLU submitted a friend of- the-court brief questioning why a nation that has sent men to the moon still has public schools so unequal that they may as well be on different planets. True to the ACLU's spirit of principled dissent, Scott Turow offers a blistering critique of the ACLU's stance on campaign finance. These powerful stories, along with essays from Neil Gaiman, Meg Wolitzer, Salman Rushdie, Ann Patchett, Viet Thanh Nguyen, Louise Erdrich, George Saunders, and many more, remind us that the issues the ACLU has engaged over the past one hundred years remain as vital as ever today, and that we can never take our liberties for granted. Chabon and Waldman are donating their advance to the ACLU and the contributors are forgoing payment.

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