"From the Palmer Raids" Wins ALA Award

In June 2008, the American Library Association's Intellectual Freedom Round Table presented the Eli M. Oboler Memorial Award to Chris Finan for his book, “From the Palmer Raids to the Patriot Act: A History of the Fight for Free Speech in America.”

The award is named for the late Idaho University librarian Eli M. Oboler—famed as a “champion of intellectual freedom who demanded the dismantling of all barriers to freedom of expression.” The Intellectual Freedom Round Table (IFRT) presents the award every two years for the best published book on intellectual freedom.

“Christopher Finan demonstrates that free speech has had its share of ups and many more downs,” said Frederick J. Stielow, chair of the Eli M. Oboler Award Committee. “His highly readable journalistic account charts a tumultuous history from World War I into the immediate post 9/11 years. First Amendment principles were largely absent and the control shocking at the start of his narrative. They took time to evolve, but continued to suffer in a balancing act against calls for social order and fears of terrorism. His conclusion joins the spirit and concerns of the namesake of the Eli Oboler Award. Free speech can only survive through the determination of individuals and organizations to maintain the true ideals of America.”

The presentation of the Oboler award was made at the ALA Annual Conference in Anaheim, Calif.


Alfred E. Smith: The Happy Warrior
A life of the crusading liberal and first Catholic candidate for President
From the Palmer Raids to the Patriot Act: A History of the Fight for Free Speech in America
The first comprehensive history of the evolution of free speech in the United States
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