The Rights of the People: How Our Search for Safety Invades Our Liberties

Front Cover
Alfred A. Knopf, 2011 - Political Science - 366 pages
From the best-selling author of The Working Poor, an impassioned, incisive look at the violations of civil liberties in the United States that have accelerated over the past decade—and their direct impact on our lives.

How have our rights to privacy and justice been undermined? What exactly have we lost? Pulitzer Prize–winner David K. Shipler searches for the answers to these questions by examining the historical expansion and contraction of our fundamental rights and, most pointedly, the real-life stories of individual men and women who have suffered. This is the account of what has been taken—and of how much we stand to regain by protesting the departures from the Bill of Rights.

With keen insight and telling detail, Shipler describes how the Supreme Court’s constitutional rulings play out on the streets as Washington, D.C., police officers search for guns in poor African American neighborhoods, how a fruitless search warrant turns the house of a Homeland Security employee upside down, and how the secret surveillance and jailing of an innocent lawyer result from an FBI lab mistake. Each instance—often as shocking as it is compelling—is a clear illustration of the risks posed to individual liberties in our modern society. And, in Shipler’s hands, each serves as a powerful incitement for a retrieval of these precious rights.

A brilliant, immeasurably important book for our time.

What people are saying - Write a review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - HadriantheBlind - LibraryThing

A worrying overview of the erosion of civil rights over the past few years. Some cases seem a bit overdone, but a necessary read. A sobering look at how far we have fallen, and how much liberty has been sacrificed for 'security'. Read full review

THE RIGHTS OF THE PEOPLE: How Our Search for Safety Invades Our Liberties

User Review  - Kirkus

As the country wages simultaneous "wars" against drugs and terrorism, a former New York Times reporter and Pulitzer Prize-winning author warns against trading our freedoms for the illusion of security ... Read full review

Other editions - View all

About the author (2011)

David K. Shipler reported for The New York Times from 1966 to 1988 in New York, Saigon, Moscow, Jerusalem, and Washington, D.C.. He is the author of four other books, including the best sellers Russia and The Working Poor, and Arab and Jew, which won the Pulitzer Prize. Shipler, who has been a guest scholar at the Brookings Institution and a senior associate at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, has taught at Princeton University; at American University in Washington, D.C.; and at Dartmouth College. He lives in Chevy Chase, Maryland.

Bibliographic information