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The untold story of the battle to legalize free expression in America by the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Ashes to Ashes.The liberty of written and spoken expression has been fixed in the firmament of our social values since our nation's beginning -- the government of the United States was the first to legalize free speech and a free press as fundamental rights. But when the British began colonizing the New World, strict censorship was the iron rule of the realm; any words, true or false, that were thought to disparage the government were judged a criminally subversive -- and duly punishable -- threat to law and order. Even after Parliament lifted press censorship late in the seventeenth century, printers published what they wished at their peril.

About the Author

Richard Kluger

BORN IN PATERSON, N.J., in September 1934, Kluger is the son of David Kluer, a New York businessman, and Ida Kluger. After his parents divorced when he was seven years old, Kluger grew up living with his mother, Ida, and older brother, Alan, on the Upper West Side of New York. Though neither of his parents completed high school, they made sure their two sons had the advantage of a good education. Both graduated from the academically demanding Horace Mann School in the Riverdale section of the Bronx, at the end of a 50-minute daily commute by subway. Alan was an honors graduate of the University of Pennsylvania's Wharton School of Finance, and Richard went to Princeton, attaining honors as an English major. But his principal pursuit at college was the school newspaper, The Daily Princetonian, of which he served as chairman in 1955-56.The origins of Kluger's love affair with the written word have always been obscure to him. No one else in his family showed much interest in literature or had any special gift for writing. The only books in his home were boys' adventure novels and Albert Payson Terhune's anthropomorphic books about dogs, creatures of limited interest to a city lad. But he devoured all print matter he could get his hands on at a modest cost - newspapers (New York then had eight dailies) , especially their sports pages, and general magazines like Life, Look, and The Saturday Evening Post. Their language was accessible, and he took to writing even as a grade-schooler, editing the mimeographed monthly Voice of the School at the Ethical Culture School, and producing the newspaper at his summer camp in the Berkshires as a teenager. At Horace Mann, he received a rigorous grounding in grammar, syntax, and rhetoric, had several stories published in the student literary magazine, and wrote for the weekly newspaper, The Record, of which he became editor-in-chief. At PrincetonAttending college in the relatively peaceful years after World War Two and the Korean conflict but before the consciousness-raising upheavals of the late fifties and 1960s, Kluger encountered little social ferment on the largely conservative Princeton campus - there were few "causes" that drew his schoolmates' attention to the wider world. He broke into print in his freshman year, writing regularly for the "Prince," as the student paper was called, and contributing to the Tiger, the student humor magazine then edited by John McPhee, who would go on to become a master of nonfiction in a long writing career based at The New Yorker. During Kluger's years on its staff, The Daily Princetonian enjoyed something of a golden age of young talent. Among his fellow "Prince" writers were Robert A. Caro, R.W. Apple, Jr., William Greider, and James Ridgeway, who would all go on to national renown as journalists and nonfiction book authors.While a "Prince" reporter, Kluger tried to obtain an interview with Princeton's mo

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