Cover image for The war on the Bill of Rights--and the gathering resistance
The war on the Bill of Rights--and the gathering resistance
Hentoff, Nat.
Personal Author:
First Seven Stories Press edition.
Publication Information:
New York : Seven Stories Press, [2003]

Physical Description:
176 pages : illustrations ; 22 cm
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
JC599.U45 H46 2003 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks
JC599.U45 H46 2003 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area

On Order



Hentoff's book has been lauded as the clearest, strongest declaration of defiance against the Bush administration's attempted rollback of US civil liberties, spearheaded by the Patriot Act. The proposed sequel - Patriot II - would make it possible to revoke US citizenship and, for the first time in history, authorize secret arrests. This book is a call to arms for citizens to fight back and defend their liberties. Hentoff quotes Lance Morrow, who wrote: If Americans win a war... and lose the Constitution, they will have lost everything''

Author Notes

Nathan Irving Hentoff was born in Boston, Massachusetts on June 10, 1925. He graduated from Northeastern University in 1946. After several years with a Boston radio station, he moved to New York in 1953 and covered jazz for Down Beat until 1957. In 1958, he was a founding editor of The Jazz Review that lasted until 1961. He wrote for The New Yorker from 1960 to 1986, for The Washington Post from 1984 to 2000, and for The Village Voice from 1958 to 2009. During his freelance career, his work appeared in Esquire, Harper's, Commonweal, The Reporter, Playboy, The New York Herald Tribune, Jewish World Review, The Wall Street Journal, and The Washington Times. In 1995, he received the National Press Foundation's award for lifetime achievement in contributions to journalism.

He wrote more than 35 books during his lifetime. His nonfiction works included The Jazz Life, Peace Agitator: The Story of A. J. Muste, The New Equality, Living the Bill of Rights, and Free Speech for Me - but Not for Thee: How the American Left and Right Relentlessly Censor Each Other. He wrote several memoirs including Boston Boy and Speaking Freely. In 1955, he co-edited with Nat Shapiro Hear Me Talkin' to Ya: The Story of Jazz as Told by the Men Who Made It. His young adult novels included Jazz Country, This School Is Driving Me Crazy, Does This School Have Capital Punishment?, and The Day They Came to Arrest the Book. He died on January 7, 2017 at the age of 91.

(Bowker Author Biography)

Reviews 2

Publisher's Weekly Review

Hentoff, a veteran defender of civil liberties, elaborates on the legal "steamroller" unleashed after September 11 that he contends is diminishing our civil rights. Thanks to the USA Patriot Act, Hentoff reports, the FBI has authority to enter your apartment without serving a warrant first, take "evidence," copy computer files and even install software that will record your every keystroke for government perusal. All of this is done in the name of fighting terrorism, but, Hentoff relates, the government no longer requires hard evidence of terrorist ties, and actions as simple as attending a protest rally or donating to a charitable organization are now enough to arouse the interest of federal spies. This concise expos?/manifesto, the latest salvo in Hentoff's lifelong defense of constitutional liberties, concerns developments he's covered for the Village Voice and other publications, but draws them together into a blistering attack on the administration, and on Attorney General John Ashcroft in particular, who Hentoff says has "subverted more elements of the Bill of Rights than any attorney general in American history." He berates Congress for its "supine" acquiescence to the Patriot Act, and the media for slack coverage of these issues. and raises the specter of J. Edgar Hoover's goon squads. Anyone concerned with civil liberties should read this short and snappy report from the frontlines of this latest constitutional struggle. (Sept. 15) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Library Journal Review

"Ever since Attorney General Ashcroft pushed the U S A PATRIOT Act through an overwhelmingly supine Congress soon after September 11, he has subverted more elements of the Bill of Rights than any attorney general in American history," states Village Voice columnist and civil liberties champion Hentoff in this pithy warning about the dangers he believes much of the Bush administration's recent legislation poses to the basic rights guaranteed by the Constitution. The author details Justice, Defense, and Homeland Security Department attempts to broaden the government's authority to detain Americans in custody, collect information on Americans, and invite Americans to spy on one another. Alternating between describing the threat that various legislative efforts have posed to the Bill of Rights with reports of ACLU and other citizen groups' defiance of the PATRIOT Act, Hentoff aims to raise readers' consciousness to the dangers inherent in recently enacted and proposed legislation. Recommended for public and academic libraries. [With the growth of so-called Bill of Rights defense committees, this book may be in demand.-Ed.]-Jill Ortner, Univ. at Buffalo Libs., NY (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Table of Contents

1 "Why Should We Care? It's Only the Constitution"p. 11
2 How We Began to Lose Our Libertiesp. 19
3 A Society Under Surveillancep. 26
4 J. Edgar Hoover Lives!p. 32
5 The FBI Eyeing What You Readp. 35
6 Burglars with Badgesp. 39
7 The FBI's Magic Lanternp. 43
8 Computers Will Say Who We Arep. 46
9 The Patriot Enforcersp. 50
10 A Citizen Shorn of All Rightsp. 54
11 Liberty's Court of Last Resortp. 59
12 Ashcroft's Detention Campp. 62
13 The American Way of Torturep. 65
14 Our Designated Killersp. 69
15 Ashcroft's Master Plan to Spy on Usp. 75
16 The Apparent Death of Operation TIPSp. 78
17 Ashcroft Out of Controlp. 81
18 Red Alert for the Bill of Rightsp. 84
19 The Sons and Daughters of Liberty and Their Opponentsp. 87
20 Grass Roots of the Constitutionp. 92
21 The Unilateral Presidentp. 97
22 Spinning the Military Tribunalp. 101
23 Vanishing Libertiesp. 105
24 Bush-Ashcroft vs. Homeland Securityp. 109
25 Conservatives Rise for the Bill of Rights!p. 113
26 Protecting John Ashcroft from Congress--and Usp. 117
27 Will American Liberty Survive the War on Terrorism?p. 120
28 Dick Armey's Farewell Addressp. 125
29 Knowing Enough of Our History to Save Our Futurep. 127
30 A Secret Meeting in 1773 on Which "The Political Salvation of America Depends"p. 130
31 The Chilling Effect on Our Freedomsp. 134
32 In the Enduring Spirit of Sam Adamsp. 142
33 Justice Denied at Its Sourcep. 146
34 Ashcroft in Conferencep. 150
35 The Once and Former Rule of Lawp. 154
Epiloguep. 158
Acknowledgmentsp. 160
Indexp. 161
About the Authorp. 175
Other Books by Nat Hentoffp. 176