Dare To Speak: Defending Free Speech for All

Dey St: HarperCollins. May 2020. 320p. ISBN 9780062966032. $28.99. POL SCI
Nossel, CEO of PEN America, has written a book for anyone who communicates online or in print and wants to retain “free speech” while acknowledging boundaries, maintaining empathy, and respecting the complexity of identities, especially when exploring or discovering how different political and social groups explore the flexibility and mutability of language online. Nossel carefully and thoughtfully outlines principles for speaking, listening, and debating free speech, beginning with a valuable compendium of legal and policy-related considerations. Beyond those fundamental elements, she repeatedly invokes empathy as a necessary component of all aspects of free speech, from what we say to how we respond, along with how to consider the ethics of protest, silencing, and intervention. The book provides clear, actionable steps and examples that range from individual/personal to large-scale and legal, which makes it at once accessible and informational. Each chapter ends with a how-to guide, which, while useful, may seem a little too straightforward for practices as changeable and varied as those she describes (such as misappropriations, contextually inappropriate word choices, and audience-specific nuances).
VERDICT An informative work for readers interested in human rights, free speech, censorship, and how they interact. [See Prepub Alert, 10/21/19.].
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