You Can't Read This Book: Censorship in an Age of Freedom

Nick Cohen

You Can't Read This Book: Censorship in an Age of Freedom

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. 3.5 out of 5 based on 5 reviews
You Can't Read This Book: Censorship in an Age of Freedom

Omniscore:

Classification Non-fiction
Genre Society, Politics & Philosophy
Format Paperback
Pages 224
RRP £12.99
Date of Publication January 2012
ISBN 978-0007308903
Publisher Fourth Estate
 

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.

Read an extract from this book | Observer

Reviews

The Evening Standard

George Walden

[A] lively, entertaining polemic … Cohen is a political animal, but with this free-thinking man of the Left there is no sense of the hedging, elisions or contrarian games so familiar in the field. A nose for censorship, of the silent or bullying variety, means not just carrying a powerful bullshit detector, which he does, but being your own man.

12/01/2012

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The Spectator

Hugo Rifkind

The essay on the law, and the ability of the rich and powerful to bully their way out of scrutiny, is probably the strongest ... Where Cohen flounders is when he tackles the internet … But for the most part, he is a deft guide to the frontiers of freedom of the written word

28/01/2012

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The Independent

Hanif Kureishi

Cohen has written a decent introduction to these issues, and presents numerous important incidents — the Danish cartoons; Simon Singh; Julian Assange; the libel laws, as well as new forms of ingenuity, when it comes to truth-telling, such as Twitter — competently and informatively. 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.

27/01/2012

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The Financial Times

John Lloyd

Raging bulls are not careful. Nor do they discriminate enough between injunctions to religious murder and laws designed to protect reputation. But among Britain’s present commentators, Cohen is surely one of the most attached to the freedoms democratic politics have brought us, as well as the most explicit in demanding that respect be paid to those who test them.

22/01/2012

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The Sunday Times

Dominic Lawson

Unfortunately, the most powerfully argued element in You Can’t Read This Book is not much more than a repetition of his earlier observations about the liberals’ betrayal of their own values … Cohen then goes over the top in equating the effects of terrorism with the journalist’s fear of libel actions.

15/01/2012

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