Like returning to your own bed after a long trip, the Wheel of Time has turned ’round to Teaser Tuesday.
Just in case you don’t know, Teaser Tuesday is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by Books and a Beat. Anyone can play along! All you have to do is grab the book you’re currently reading, open to a random page and share a few sentences from that page. But make sure you don’t share any spoilers!*
*I wish I could take credit for this introduction, but I shamelessly stole it from Heather over at bitsnbooks. To help me make amends, you should go check out her blog.
This week I’m reading an Advance Reading Copy of Indelible Ink: The Trials of John Peter Zenger and the Birth of America’s Free Press by Richard Kluger, which I was lucky enough to win in a Goodreads giveaway. Interested as I am in freedom of speech, this book is right up my alley. Hopefully it will live up to my excitement.
The Goodreads’ Blurb
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.
So when in 1733 a small newspaper, the New-York Weekly Journal, printed scathing articles assailing the new British governor, William Cosby, as corrupt and abusive, colonial New York was scandalized. The paper’s publisher, an impoverished printer named John Peter Zenger with a wife and six children, in fact had no hand in the paper’s vitriolic editorial content—he was only a front man for Cosby’s adversaries, New York Supreme Court Chief Justice Lewis Morris and the shrewd attorney James Alexander. Zenger nevertheless became the endeavor’s courageous fall guy when Cosby brought the full force of his high office down upon it. Jailed for the better part of a year, Zenger faced a jury on August 4, 1735, in a proceeding matched in importance during the colonial period only by the Salem Witch Trials.
In Indelible Ink, acclaimed social historian Richard Kluger re-creates in rich detail this dramatic clash of powerful antagonists that marked the beginning of press freedom in America and its role in vanquishing colonial tyranny. Here is an enduring lesson that resounds to this day on the vital importance of free public expression as the underpinning of democracy.
The Truly Random Number Generator sends us to page 152.
In short, defamation was the very purpose of protesting the abuses of government authority; otherwise, the compliant masses would remain forever victimized.
I haven’t yet finished The Last Day of Marcus Tullius Cicero by Jordan Poss; see yesterday’s post for reasons why. Hopefully, that will be rectified this week.
What are you reading today?