Wall Street Journal Reviews “The Indispensable Right” – JONATHAN TURLEY

As the first edition goes out this week, the Wall Street Journal has published its review of The Indispensable Right: Free Speech in an Age of Rage. Tunku Varadarajan takes a deep dive into the book and its historical, philosophical, and cultural exploration of this quintessentially American right. I am profoundly grateful for this thorough and positive review of the book.

“Mr. Turley has written a learned and bracing book, rigorously detailed and unfailingly evenhanded. For all his grim recounting of the assaults on free speech, his is ultimately a buoyant book.” Wall Street Journal

You can read the review on the WSJ website.

Here are some of the prior reviews from civil libertarians, journalists, judges, and others of The Indispensable Right: Free Speech in an Age of Rage:

“Jonathan Turley’s magnum opus should be required reading for everyone who cares about free speech—certainly including anyone who questions or criticizes strong free speech protection. This a unique synthesis of the historical, philosophical, artistic, and even physiological bases for protecting free speech as a right to which all human beings are inherently entitled, and Turley provides riveting accounts of the courageous individuals, throughout history, who have struggled and sacrificed in order to exercise and defend the right. The Indispensable Right is an indispensable book.”
—Nadine Strossen, former president of the American Civil Liberties Union

“Brilliant and intellectually honest, Jonathan Turley has few peers as a legal scholar today. With The Indispensable Right, he has given us a robust reexamination and defense of free speech as a right. Rich with historical content and insight, this superbly-written book calls out both the left and the right for attacks on free speech while offering in the final chapter a path forward.”
—William P. Barr, former Attorney General and author of the No. 1 New York Times bestseller One Damn Thing After Another.

“This efficient volume is packed with indispensable information delivered with proper passion. Jonathan Turley surveys the fraught history of “the indispensable right” and today’s dismayingly broad retreat from its defense. He is especially illuminating on how the concept of “harm” from speech has been broadened to serve the interest of censors.”
—George F. Will, Pulitzer Prize winner and Washington Post columnist.

“The First Amendment has consumed Jonathan Turley for more than thirty years. Lucky for us that he waited until now, amidst a climate of unprecedented rage rhetoric, to deliver a master class on the unvarnished history of free speech in America. The Indispensable Right is enlightening and engaging. It is also cautionary tale against state overcorrection of the often acrimonious, free exchange of ideas that are an essential part of the human experience.”
Michael Smerconish, host of CNN’s “Smerconish”

“During these often-bitter times, Jonathan Turley is my “go-to” commentator for smart, clear and honest analysis on any difficult legal controversy.”
—Jim Webb, former Democratic U.S. Senator, Secretary of the Navy, and bestselling author

“Jonathan Turley’s book is the rarest of accomplishments: a timely and brilliantly original yet disciplined and historically grounded treatment of free speech. He dispels the view that our current social turmoil is “uncharted waters”—from the 1790’s Whiskey Rebels to the 1920’s Wobblies to the 1950’s communists, we’ve been here before—and argues persuasively that free speech is a human need and that we must resist the urge to restrict speech as “disinformation” or “seditious” or offensive to “woke” sensibilities.”
—Michael B. Mukasey, former Attorney General and U.S. District Judge

“Jonathan Turley is one of the most astute and most honest analysts of the intersection of politics and law. Thirty years in the making, this book brilliantly proposes means for preserving the most important Constitutional right: the right to free speech. Elegantly written, exhaustively researched, and passionately argued, Turley has given us a superb and necessary tract for our time.”
—Stephen B. Presser, Raoul Berger Professor of Legal History Emeritus, Northwestern University School of Law

“Jonathan Turley recognizes free speech as an essential good—an activity that is central to our very nature as human beings. This is in sharp contrast with those who defend free speech as merely instrumental to some other value, like democracy or the pursuit of truth; rationales that are then used to justify limiting speech in ways that obstruct human flourishing. In this important book, he explains why free speech has historically come under threat during periods of rage and proposes policies that will protect freedom of speech from those who would today destroy this indispensable right.”
—Randy E. Barnett, Patrick Hotung Professor of Constitutional Law, Georgetown University Law Center

“The Indispensable Right is a courageous, provocative case by one of America’s most prolific public intellectuals for resurrecting natural law or embracing an autonomous basis for the protection of free speech. Not all First Amendment defenders will be persuaded––but one needn’t sign on to Turley’s robust view of free speech to appreciate the unique clarity and deep historical research he brings to his argument. Read this insightful book to understand the peril of today’s broad-based assault on free speech.”

—Michael J. Glennon, Professor of Constitutional and International Law, Tufts University, author of Free Speech and Turbulent Freedom: The Dangerous Allure of Censorship in the Digital Era.

“A vigorous defense of free speech, a right enshrined but often hobbled or outright abrogated. A smart book that invites argument—civil argument, that is, with good faith and tolerance.”

—Kirkus Book Reviews

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