First Amendment News

First Amendment News 271: New and forthcoming books issue: The 2020-2021 list

September 16, 2020
Robert Corn-RevereRobert Corn-Revere

In this special issue, we offer a wide range of new and forthcoming books on free expression. In the latter category is one that merits special attention — Robert Corn-Revere’s “The Mind of the Censor and the Eye of the Beholder” (Cambridge University Press, 2021). With this book, Corn-Revere returns to the ranks of practicing First Amendment lawyers who have authored books on free speech — e.g. Floyd Abrams, Martin GarbusLee Levine, Charles Rembar, and Theodore Schroeder (also Ian Rosenberg, forthcoming).

With the “Mind of the Censor” Corn-Revere pivots from the world of free speech hornbook law and ventures into a wider world of readers. This eminently readable book (yes, I read the manuscript) is for anyone who wants to know more about why freedom of speech is important and how protections for free expression became part of the American identity. Beginning in the 19th century with Anthony Comstock, America’s “censor in chief,” Corn-Revere explores how censors operate and why they wore out their welcome in society at large.

Corn-Revere also explains how the same tactics were tried and eventually failed in the 20th century, with efforts to censor music, comic books, television, and other forms of popular entertainment. The historic examples illustrate not just the mindset and tactics of censors, but why they are the ultimate counterculture warriors and why, in free societies, censors never occupy the moral high ground.

Advance Praise 

  • Corn-Revere’s engagingly written book provides a powerful defense of freedom speech and of freedom of thought — a book of stunning originality and importance. — Erwin Chemerinsky
  • Regardless of how much or how little you know or care about free speech when you begin this book, you will be enlightened, inspired, and galvanized by every page! — Nadine Strossen
  • This book offers a riveting review and astute analysis of the evolution of free expression.  Corn-Revere brings to life the absurdities of censorship and the dangers such views pose to American liberty and democracy — an original work, informative, insightful, and often wildly entertaining. — Geoffrey R. Stone
  • This book will prove to you that Bob is as groovy as Superman, without the stupid cape. — Penn Jillette


2020-2021 list of books 


Dangerous Ideas cover

College campuses


Burning the Book cover
Culture wars

Flag salute cases

Government speech

Hate speech

The Revolution in Freedoms of Press and SpeechTEXT

Intellectual freedom

Workers against the City cover

Labor unions



National Security

  • Geoffrey Stone & Lee Bollinger, eds. “Leaks, National Security and Freedom of the Press” (Oxford University Press, early 2021)

Philosophy of free speech 

Press freedoms

    • Slanted cover



The Cost of My Faith cover

Religious speech 

Sex and censorship



Free Speech and the Suppression of Dissent During World War I cover




2020-2021 SCOTUS term: Free expression & related cases

Cert. granted

Pending petitions

First Amendment-related 

Last scheduled FAN

This article is part of First Amendment News, an editorially independent publication edited by Professor Ronald K. L. Collins and hosted by FIRE as part of our mission to educate the public about First Amendment issues. Opinions expressed are those of the article's author(s) and may not reflect the opinions of FIRE or of Professor Collins.