As Michael Gove is well aware, a great book collection especially a political one has got to stir the pot in order to be at all useful. Gove is the latest politician to fall victim to the bookshelf police after his home library came under scrutiny on Twitter. His critics were soon up in arms about everything from the number of books about dictators to the presence of Holocaust denier David Irving in his collection. It seems that in 2020 we are not allowed to read or keep a book whose arguments we dont wholeheartedly agree with.
If, like Gove, we were going to construct a bookshelf of political tomes that actually sharpened our arguments and ideas rather than simply pacified the social media crowd, what would this collection look like?
Weve put together a list of must-reads, covering everything from free speech to Brexit (remember that? No, me neither).
When journalist Fleming Rose decided to commission a Danish cartoon competition to depict the prophet Muhammed, he could not have predicted the chain of shocking events that his actions would unleash or the strange self-censorship that many in the West impose over issues deemed too controversial to go near. In The Tyranny of Silence, Rose scrutinises his own motives for publishing the images and produces a robust defence of freedom of speech in the process.
Alongside his political career, Hague has created a successful sideshow in political biography. I highly recommend listening to his impressive biography of Wilberforce on Audible. He reads it superbly, which cant be said for all audible authors, most of whom are wise to call in actors for the job. His earlier biography of William Pitt the Younger did much to put Britains youngest Prime Minister on the political map and, whilst Wilberforce was already a leading light in British political history, this biography lays bare the ways in which he had to master the political and cultural mechanisms of the day to bring about radical change.
The late Sir Roger Scruton was always something of an outlier in the academic community a respected philosopher with Conservative convictions. This prescient book unpacks the forces that led to the Brexit vote at a time when the rest of us were still grappling with what exactly caused the result. He charts the philosophy that drove Brexit back to differences between British and European approaches to citizenship which he argues came about as a result of common law and the establishment of protestantism. Brexit, in Scrutons view, is the rational outworking of British history not a freak event brought about by an ill-informed populace, as many on the remain side have sought to argue.
Populism is a word that has come into its own over the last decade. Generally used by critics to denote any electoral result that upsets their own political sensibilities, its a term that neatly sums up the era running up to Covid-19. You couldnt ask for a more erudite guide to the term than Goodwin who impartially charts the rise of populism right back to its roots. He debunks the myth that the movement is fleeting and that young people are not attracted to it all the while keeping his book unstuffy and jargon-free. A must read.
This is the go-to account of the referendum campaign for anyone interested in Brexit. Shipman does a sterling job of giving each side a fair hearing quite a feat given the tensions that existed between remainers and leavers at the time.
From its intimate portrayal of David Camerons shock and dismay at losing from within the walls of Number 10 to the now infamous role of Leave campaign co-ordinator Dominic Cummings in shaping Leaves winning strategy, Shipmans fly-on-the-wall account will be the book that politicians turn to remember what happened when and why. I also enjoyed the throwaway details of Wetminsters eating habits. Who knew Brexit was essentially fuelled by takeaway pizza and curry?
Whilst we all like to think that we construct our political belief systems in an entirely rational manner based on the facts we have available, Jonathan Haidt would beg to differ. He unpicks the lefts characterisation of the right as evil and asks what it is about left-wing ideology that insists on characterising its opponents in such morally stark terms; those who espouse a conservative ideology are not just wrong, in its view, but morally bankrupt. Leaving no stone unturned, he then trains his scalpel on religious conviction in a similarly eviscerating manner.
This is a clever, easy read for those who find political tribalism a bit nonsensical at times. Mumford exposes the ethical contradictions that lie at the heart of many of our political divides fromassisted dying, social welfare, sexual liberation, abortion, gun control to the environment, technology and justice. Its a book that will leave you questioning where exactly you sit on the political spectrum.
A book that contains a positive account of the impact of colonialism is bound to have the social media crowd calling for the gallows. British civil servant Sir John Cowperthwaite is credited with helping to transform Hong Kong from a poverty-stricken backwater into one of the most prosperous nations on earth before its handover to China in 1997. But how did this change in fortunes come about? This book unpicks the economic policies that enabled Hong Kong to flourish a top read for political anoraks and capitalist zealots alike.
Published in 2005, this comic novel is the closest well ever get to an inside track on the PMs off-beat sense of humour. The title shows how he was gamely poking fun at religious orthodoxy long before his famous letter box remark. The novel centres on the State visit of an American president which goes awry when a would-be terrorist slips through the Palace of Westminster security gates. The book received a somewhat mixed reception when it was published but its a fun read, especially now that the author serendipitously finds himself in the top job hed clearly always dreamed of. Plus, the title will have your eagle-eyed Zoom friends outraged in no time at all.
- Freedom of speech according to the gospel of Koch - University World News - July 21st, 2021
- U.K. Free-Speech Bill a Sound Solution to Censorship - National Review - July 21st, 2021
- She Hates Biden. Some of Her Neighbors Hate the Way She Shows It. - The New York Times - July 21st, 2021
- Academic freedom must include the right to criticise employers - Times Higher Education (THE) - July 21st, 2021
- Proposed Polish Bill Further Restricts Media Freedoms in a Climate of Civil Rights Activism - The Organization for World Peace - July 21st, 2021
- Professors enjoy academic freedom, but it doesnt allow them to teach or say whatever they want in class - San Francisco Chronicle - July 21st, 2021
- Candace Owens backs the Freedom Phone thats designed to promote free speech in fight against Big Tech... - The US Sun - July 16th, 2021
- SCOTUS Gets It Right In 'Mahanoy' With Measured Response To Student Speech - Government, Public Sector - United States - Mondaq News Alerts - July 16th, 2021
- Is Gender Wokeism the New Religion of the West? - Heritage.org - July 16th, 2021
- Ghost of Section 66A - The Indian Express - July 16th, 2021
- Trump's Big Tech lawsuit: Freedom of speech vs. the First Amendment | TheHill - The Hill - July 10th, 2021
- Letters: is it free speech or hate speech? - The Guardian - July 10th, 2021
- The rise of a generation of censors: Law schools the latest battlement over free speech | TheHill - The Hill - July 10th, 2021
- OCMD Police Say Profanity-Laced Biden Flags On The Boardwalk Are Considered Freedom Of Speech - CBS Baltimore - July 10th, 2021
- North Carolina Public Universities Arent Preparing Students Well on Free Speech - National Review - July 10th, 2021
- Gwen Berry, 'The Star Spangled Banner' and free speech in the world of sports | Opinion - NorthJersey.com - July 10th, 2021
- North Carolina Finds That Banning Indoctrination Is Hard - The Atlantic - July 10th, 2021
- Section 230 Continues To Not Mean Whatever You Want It To - Above the Law - July 10th, 2021
- Does Trump have a legitimate First Amendment case? - The Fulcrum - July 10th, 2021
- Conservatives Are the Ones Attacking Free Speech at Universities - Jacobin magazine - June 28th, 2021
- Commentary: How 'freedom of speech' is weaponized to fight anti-racism - Johnson City Press (subscription) - June 23rd, 2021
- Selective Free Speech: Academics Discussing Race Face the Real Cancel Culture Byline Times - Byline Times - June 23rd, 2021
- Celebrating the most American of freedoms | Ken Paulson - Wisconsin Newspaper Association - June 23rd, 2021
- Higher ed access, speech on campus bill moves on for House review - Ohio Capital Journal - June 23rd, 2021
- LGBTQ+ Need Not Apply - The Regulatory Review - June 23rd, 2021
- Ending hate speech starts with all of us - SC Times - June 13th, 2021
- If Critical Race Theory Is Banned, Are Teachers Protected by the First Amendment? - Education Week - June 13th, 2021
- Free speech and the culture wars The Justice Gap - thejusticegap.com - June 13th, 2021
- Free speech matters for all at UCL, and so does disruptive thinking - Jewish News - June 13th, 2021
- Twitter needs India and Nigeria to grow. It's running into trouble in both - KCTV Kansas City - June 13th, 2021
- Monday Morning Thoughts: Has the ACLU Lost Its Way in Protecting Speech They Hate? - The Peoples Vanguard of Davis - June 13th, 2021
- The free speech law will make university debate harder, not easier - The Guardian - May 24th, 2021
- 'Tool for censorship': Newly effective regulation could curb free speech in Indonesia - Jakarta Post - May 24th, 2021
- 'Attempt to 'murder' freedom of speech': Cong on Twitter India office searches - Hindustan Times - May 24th, 2021
- JIM SPENCE: Abertay University vagina row is no joke the free speech Stasi are threatening to silence us all - The Courier - May 24th, 2021
- What is the First Amendment? US right to free speech explained, after Prince Harry says its bonkers - iNews - May 20th, 2021
- The New Campus Free Speech Bill What Universities Need To Know And Need To Do - Consumer Protection - UK - Mondaq News Alerts - May 20th, 2021
- The Government is in a mess with its free speech bill it has already sabotaged its own legal definition - iNews - May 20th, 2021
- The new Campus Free Speech Bill - what universities need to know and need to do - Lexology - May 20th, 2021
- Cutting costs and cultivating free speech will put higher education on the right path | TheHill - The Hill - May 20th, 2021
- Academics And Officials Have Questioned The Evidence Behind Gavin Williamson's Excessive University Free Speech Bill - PoliticsHome - May 20th, 2021
- Letters to the Editor: May 20-26, 2021 - Blaine Northern Light - May 20th, 2021
- Federal lawsuit targets Georgia voting law, citing threat to voting, speech rights - Online Athens - May 20th, 2021
- Culture wars, identity politics and free speech: Rod Liddle and Peter Tatchell in conversation - Spectator.co.uk - May 20th, 2021
- Argumentative Essays on Importance of Freedom of Speech ... - May 9th, 2021
- Does Freedom of Speech Exist - Emerging Media - Loyola ... - May 9th, 2021
- Opinion: The past year has underscored the need for vigilance in defending the First Amendment - Poynter - May 9th, 2021
- Big Tech and freedom of speech | News, Sports, Jobs - The Sentinel - Lewistown Sentinel - April 23rd, 2021
- House Bill 22 Raises Concerns for Police Reform Efforts and Freedom of Speech - WKSU News - April 23rd, 2021
- The Supreme Court Justices Are Set to Hear Two Very Different Free Speech Cases What You Should Know - Law & Crime - April 23rd, 2021
- The Russell Group's statement of principles on universities protecting freedom of speech - FE News - April 23rd, 2021
- Should satire be protected as free speech? - Aliran - April 23rd, 2021
- James Acaster Never Wants to Make an Audience Member Cry Again - Vulture - April 23rd, 2021
- Wave of New 'Anti-Riot' Legislation Threatens Free Speech - The Daily Beast - April 19th, 2021
- A Festival takes on the complicated topic of Freedom of Speech in the U.S. and France - Frenchly - April 19th, 2021
- Historic Figures Who Recognized That Speech Is Freedom's First Line of Defense | Lawrence W. Reed - Foundation for Economic Education - April 19th, 2021
- My Turn: What does a paper owe its readers? - The Recorder - April 19th, 2021
- Analyzing the Recent Sixth Circuits Extension of Academic Freedom Protection to a College - Justia Verdict - April 19th, 2021
- Does Daniel Andrews have new bars on free speech coming? - The Spectator Australia - April 19th, 2021
- Lessons on Free Speech from the Soviet Union - kvor - March 31st, 2021
- When Neville Chamberlain tried to 'no-platform' the Yorkshire Post - The Conversation UK - March 31st, 2021
- The precedent of free speech on campus | The Record - The Record - March 21st, 2021
- Intermediary Liability and Why Free Speech in Software Matters - The Wire - March 21st, 2021
- A look back at a conversation with Carl Hiaasen on free speech - WMFE - March 21st, 2021
- Holmes' defense of Freedom of Speech | Columnists | willistonherald.com - Williston Daily Herald - March 18th, 2021
- My Turn: Our biggest threats to free speech - Concord Monitor - February 14th, 2021
- Q&A: Sociologist with Specialty in Right-Wing Movements on Free Speech and the First Amendment | Newsroom - UC Merced University News - February 14th, 2021
- Gavin Williamson set to appoint free speech champion with power to fine universities - iNews - February 14th, 2021
- Letters: The limits of free speech and the dangers of violence and insurrection - The Advocate - February 14th, 2021
- Free Speech Arguments Against Trump's Impeachment Dishonor The First Amendment - People For the American Way - February 6th, 2021
- The Wall Street Journal Misreads Section 230 and the First Amendment - Lawfare - February 6th, 2021
- After Thomas furore, Bar says to balance free speech and fair trial - Free Malaysia Today - February 6th, 2021
- Reggie Jackson blasts Curt Schilling over Hall controversy: Freedom of speech got you freed out of the Hall of Fame - The Boston Globe - February 2nd, 2021
- Opinion: What the Biden Administration Can Expect To Meet in Court - Prescott eNews - February 2nd, 2021
- Academics should put freedom of speech in the context of other values (opinion) - Inside Higher Ed - January 29th, 2021
- Forum: Freedom of speech should be exercised with responsibility - The Straits Times - January 29th, 2021
- Free Speech and the Question of Race - Los Angeles Review of Books - lareviewofbooks - lareviewofbooks - January 29th, 2021
- Free speech and the responsibilities of social media companies: When should political speech lose its protection? - ABC News - January 29th, 2021
- Does Freedom of Speech Exist in Cryptocurrency Communities? - hackernoon.com - January 29th, 2021
- Absolute Freedom to Tweet? Employers (and the NLRA) May Have Something to Say About It - Lexology - January 29th, 2021