Fighting for the Press

The Inside Story of the Pentagon Papers and Other Battles

by James Goodale

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Publication Date: April 2013

ISBN (Paperback): 9781939293084


“Fascinating” The New York Review of Books
Deeply Informed” The New York Times
“Surprisingly racy . . . extremely important,” The New Statesman
“A very fast read” Thursday Review

Twice Named Best Non-Fiction Book of the Year

Alan Rusbridger editor of The Guardian, picking it as book of the year for The New Statesman,  “Goodale is a passionate defender of First Amendment rights and his insider account of this crucial struggle is surprisingly racy – and extremely important.” 

One of the 12 best non-fiction books of 2013 says Alan Clanton editor of Thursday Review, “Goodale retells the most important freedom-of-the press case in U.S. history. . . he also foretells of a pendulum in full swing again, this time away from the press and in favor of a government that wants to operate in secret – and to collect your secrets with unlimited power.  A very fast read.”

David Cole in The New York Review of Books, “A fascinating inside story of the Times legal battles against censorship . . . The Pentagon Papers case, thanks in part to Goodale’s own arguments before the courts, established an extraordinarily high legal bar for enjoining publication, and that bar holds today.” 

Jeffrey Frank in The New York Times, “ a deeply informed, even gossipy firsthand look at the legal strategy as well as conflicts inside the offices of The New York Times.”

On June 13, 1971, the New York Times published on its front page a series of confidential documents outlining U.S. government policy on the war in Vietnam. These documents had been secretly leaked from the Department of Defense to reporters at the New York Times. The government sued to stop publication.  The case went to the Supreme Court and the New York Times won.

Fighting for the Press is the story of this constitutional victory whose lessons are as essential today as they were in the 1970s – and of the personalities involved, including a disillusioned intellectual, aggressive reporters, meticulous editors, a cautious publisher, a vengeful attorney general, a beleaguered president and, in the middle of it all, the lawyer who urged his clients to fight for the First Amendment.

About the Author

James Goodale, Chief Counsel for the New York Times during the Pentagon Papers case, is a leading legal expert on the First Amendment.