Blog Index

Reviews of Revolutionary Dissent


Kirkus Review

Full Review

"First Amendment scholar Solomon...spotlights how Colonial citizens and patriots—e.g., minister John Wise, irrepressible newspapers editors, silversmith Paul Revere, farmer John Dickinson, and others—challenged the seditious libel law that the American Colonies had inherited from England. ... Solomon looks at the rise of newspapers, “coffeehouse culture,” broadsides, political theater, cartoons, and even symbols such as effigies and the Liberty Tree in Boston as significant in whipping up public foment. They were all part of the Enlightenment convictions held by the framers that citizens of a democracy 'required the freedom to speak freely and passionately on all the issues before them.'...A cogent, organized history of the beginnings of free speech in the United States.  (Review posted online February 4, 2016; Kirkus Reviews Issue of February 15, 2016)


Publishers Weekly

Full Review

"Solomon...explores the 17th- and 18th-century political and cultural dynamics that resulted in the expansive view of freedom of expression employed in the U.S. Constitution's First Amendment....Solomon's mix of close  history, academic dissertation, and accessible popular history reiterates the value of examining the historical precedents to America's revered commitment to freedom of expression." (Review posted online March 21, 2016)


NYU Stories

Review and Q&A

“It would be easy to conclude that the political speech in our era is nastier than ever before. What would the founders of our nation—those deep thinkers who wrote eloquent, reasoned defenses of the freedom of expression as essential for democracy—have made of such crass and vitriolic attacks? Could they have envisioned the caustic vulgarity we’ve come to expect on the debate stage, let alone in online comment threads?”