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ISBN:0007308906
Author: Nick Cohen
ISBN13: 978-0007308903
Title: You Can’t Read This Book: Censorship in an Age of Freedom (English and English Edition)
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ePUB size: 1435 kb
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Language: English
Category: Politics and Government
Publisher: Fourth Estate (January 19, 2012)
Pages: 330

You Can’t Read This Book: Censorship in an Age of Freedom (English and English Edition) by Nick Cohen



Nick Cohen’s new book is a corrective to the tendency of internet utopians to think that the web has ushered in an age of transparency New Statesman. You Can’t Read This Book. Cohen is right about everything that matters. Standpoint, Anthony Julius.

You Can't Read This Book: Censorship in an Age of Freedom (2012) is a book by Nick Cohen about modern censorship, plutocratic power and privacy laws, freedom of speech, and free expression.

From the fall of the Berlin Wall to the advert of the Web, everywhere you turn you are told that we live in age of unparalleled freedom. This is dangerously naive. From the revolution in Iran that wasn't to the imposition of super-injunctions from the filthy rich, we still live in a world where you can write a book and end up dead. After the fall of the Berlin Wall, the collapse of Communism, and the advent of the Web which allowed for even the smallest voice to be heard, everywhere you turned you were told that we were living in an age of unparalleled freedom.

An interesting book about censorship and free speech, which has a strong emphasis on British libel laws and the subsequent problems that people face when they go up against them. Cohen uses some well known examples to clarify his points such as the backlash that Salman Rushdie experienced when he published The Satanic Verses, and how bankers were allowed to bring about the 2008 recession crisis because many whistleblowers were suppressed through the courts to keep their mouths shut. Censorship" and "Freedom of Speech" nowadays are taken for granted in the third-world were living in, You Can't Read This Book, reminds us of the problems that exist and are ignored in our society today.

The uncompromising Nick Cohen exposes the reality behind the freedoms we enjoy in the book that won Polemic of the Year at the 2013 Political Book Awards. You Can't Read This Book’ argues that this view is dangerously naive. Download options: EPUB 2 (Adobe DRM). You can read this item using any of the following Kobo apps and devices: DESKTOP.

Nick Cohen's timely polemic exposes the myth of freedom of expression in Britain with great insight and verve, writes Denis MacShane. This is not just a narrow book on the sort of issues being dealt with by Leveson. Cohen also excoriates the liberal intelligentsia for their mealy-mouthed failure to support Salman Rushdie when Islamists started burning his books. To the shame of British freedom, John le Carré and Roy Hattersley found excuses for the mullahs

You Can't Read This Book: Censorship in an Age of Freedom. Download (epub, 397 Kb). FB2 PDF MOBI TXT RTF. Converted file can differ from the original. If possible, download the file in its original format.

The dirtiest book of all by Michael Weiss. The dirtiest book of all. by Michael Weiss. A trend-spotter in many respects, but not least because he didn’t bother to read the book he helped make famous, the founder of the Islamic Republic of Iran sentenced the Indian novelist Salman Rushdie to death in 1989 over Rushdie’s fictional satire on the controversial aspect of the Islamic tradition that Satan might have dictated parts of the Koran, particularly. those parts which compromised the singularity of God. The Khomeinist fatwa on Rushdie led a rush of fanaticism and apologetics that prefigured the struggle against totalitarianism.

He goes on to state that we are subject to ever-tightening structures on what we say, think or do. According to Cohen, privacy laws let the wealthy censor the press; protest against oppression is slammed as bigotry and voices of dissent can't be heard over "the clamour hailing the internet as the saviour of democracy. There is an all-out confrontation between the ironic and the literal mind: between every kind of commissar and inquisitor and bureaucrat and those who know that, whatever the role of social and political forces, idea and books have to be formulated and written by individuals. - Christopher Hitchens.

Nick Cohen rightly calls The Satanic Verses controversy "the Dreyfus Affair" of our age, a central signifier of our preoccupations, one which divides friends and brings out the unbelievable and perverse where you least expect it. John le Carré, for instance - clearly unaware of Shaw's sublime quote, "It is immorality not morality that requires protection" - will not be forgotten for his remark that there is "no law in life or nature that says great religions may be insulted with impunity". We’ll tell you what’s true. Although the book reads like an extended newspaper article, it is useful to have all this material in one place, particularly for the benefit of young people, who must be taught about previous disputes over free expression.

From the fall of the Berlin Wall to the advert of the Web, everywhere you turn you are told that we live in age of unparalleled freedom. This is dangerously naïve. From the revolution in Iran that wasn’t to the imposition of super-injunctions from the filthy rich, we still live in a world where you can write a book and end up dead.

After the fall of the Berlin Wall, the collapse of Communism, and the advent of the Web which allowed for even the smallest voice to be heard, everywhere you turned you were told that we were living in an age of unparalleled freedom.You Can't Read This Book argues that this view is dangerously naive. From the revolution in Iran that wasn't, to the Great Firewall of China and the imposition of super-injunctions from the filthy rich protecting their privacy, the traditional opponents of freedom of speech - religious fanaticism, plutocratic power and dictatorial states - are thriving, and in many respects finding the world a more comfortable place in the early 21st century than they did in the late 20th.

This is not an account of interesting but trivial disputes about freedom of speech: the rights and wrongs of shouting 'fire' in a crowded theatre, of playing heavy metal at 3 am in a built-up area or articulating extremist ideas in a school or university. Rather, this is a story that starts with the cataclysmic reaction of the Left and Right to the publication and denunciation of the Satanic Verses in 1988 that saw them jump into bed with radical extremists. It ends at the juncture where even in the transgressive, liberated West, where so much blood had been spilt for Freedom, where rebellion is the conformist style and playing the dissenter the smart career move in the arts and media, you can write a book and end up destroyed or dead.

Reviews: 7
Bearus
Nick Cohen is one of a rare breed: a man who dares to go off the reservation and dissent from the received wisdom of the collective to which he belongs. In this case, Nick Cohen is a man of the left; but he is a man of integrity, as he is unafraid to criticise his own 'side'. In his splendid book he skewers those on the left who contort themselves into embarrassing and unedifying positions as they apologise for the depredations of radical and violent islam. For his troubles Cohen has been disowned by some dyed-in-the wool left-wingers. But Cohen does not spare the right either. He goes after neocons and their fellow travellers with gusto. His gaze transcends political opinion and thereby gets closer to objective truth.

His polemic examines the state of freedom in the west today (published in 2012) and finds it in fearful retreat. He details the genesis of capitulation to radical islam in the days of the fatwa placed on Salman Rushdie in the 1980s and traces its ugly arc up through the Danish mohamed cartoons to the disgusting treatment meted out to islamic victim Aayan Hirsi Ali whose only crime was to tell the truth (she is dubbed an 'Enlightenment Fundamentalist' for daring to criticise islam's treatment of women. Has anyone ever heard a sadder, sicker more sinister epithet?)

He also presents a damning case against the British judicial system that has become positively Orwellian in its zeal to accommodate the rich, the powerful and the famous in their use of libel laws to silence anyone who would speak ill of them, or even merely state indisputable facts. How did we get from there to here? Here being a place where journalists are not only forbidden from reporting on the machinations of a court case and forbidden from even reporting what a court case is about, they are forbidden by super injunctions that proscribe reporting that a court case exists at all. Here, then, is a very unattractive place. A place that would not be out of place in Stalin's Russia.

Cohen looks at the sorry options open to corporate whistleblowers who find themselves friendless in the courts and the legal system in general where those with deep pockets and loud voices can make a newspaper with a factually watertight story quiver for fear of financial ruin and desist from publication. This leads into the murky area of censorship and its even uglier twin, self-censorship. Cohen does not find much to give him cheer - and with good cause, as the dispiriting examples he proffers attest.

Cohen's book is chock full of interesting facts, asides and lesser-known morsels that illustrate the history of the fight for freedoms in the west. There is nary a wasted word - and the book bears re-reading, so much is there to digest. It's a pity that such a penetrating analysis of the perilous state of freedom in the west as is presented so admirably in this book is not better known. The book should be widely read - and acted upon.
spacebreeze
The book challenges the reader whether they *truly* believe in free speech. The freedom to speak out is taken for granted in the western world, and one of the things that terrorists supposedly hate us for. Yet often free speech is something we pay lip service to, and seldom stand up for it when it counts. Freedom of speech (and thus freedom of conscience) is one of the great gifts of the enlightenment, yet where are its defenders?

The modern version of the loss of free speech often devolves into discussion of the nanny state. Censorship for our own good. Yet this book doesn't focus on that. Rather it focuses on explicit and implicit censorship done in the name of religion, money, and state. The success of censorship tactics isn't just preventing dissenting voices from being heard, but putting enough fear into people that they will willingly withhold their voice. In the case of religion, it meant that people would not dare to publish critiques of Islam. When it came to corporations, potential whistleblowers would fear for their own future livelihoods, or journalists being sued for libel in the UK. And when it came to state, the fear is inadvertently becoming a target by speaking out.

The point with censorship at each point in the Internet age is the same. Powerful groups will use their power to maintain that power when they can.

One of the tragedies the book kept highlighting was the liberal acquiescence on matters of free speech. Free speech fits comfortably into the liberal political discourse, but unfortunately has been eroded by moves towards relativism. Cohen calls it for what it is - racism, where freedom of speech is just fine for us white folk, but it's cultural oppression for anyone else. He brilliantly exposes the double standards of liberal commentators when Ayaan Hirsi Ali spoke out in the Netherlands, just as liberal commentators in the UK the previous decades when Salman Rushie drew the ire of Islamic fascists. That people cannot stand up for freedom of expression.

The brilliance of the book is that it's not only a sociological look at particular instances (including the harrowing examples of the global financial crisis and details of Roman Polanski's abominable sex crimes), but drew specific lessons for the reader to be wary of. And perhaps after venting so much moral outrage, his closing chapter on how to fight back gave at least a glimmer of hope.

Everyone should read this book precisely because free speech is so important, and Cohen's sharp polemic is the rallying call free speech needs. We should do more than pay lip service to free speech, it's a vital part of our well being, and the book is full of cautionary tales of how easily it can be whittled away - and how devastating that can be.
Marad
The book is written okay. The author could have done a better job.
Daron
We believe that we can say, read and hear whatever we want. The author shows that governments, courts, the rich, religious leaders, even some muddle-headed libertarians, often aim or condone the suppression of criticism. A key theme is that criticism that may offend someone, is not the same as that which harms, and is often needed. This book is not a dusty treatise on freedom of speech as its themes are well supported by recent and disturbing case studies.
dermeco
Great book recommended by professor Richard Dawkins. Good ideas on how to deal with political and religious fundamentalists in current times.