American Heroes

Nat Hentoff, Author
Nat Hentoff, Author Delacorte Press $14.95 (126p) ISBN 978-0-385-29565-9
Reviewed on: 06/01/1987
Release date: 06/01/1987
Most of this volume by the noted civil libertarian lives up to the promise of the title. These are the compelling, true stories of high school students who endure censure by adults they'd been taught to obey and the taunts of friends and peers who ostracize them. Hentoff does not present both sides of issues, but instead offers the reader inspirational tales of ordinary youngsters who feel they must stand up for First Amendment principles. Nearly as moving are the stories of the librarians who battled evangelists and small-minded politicians in the name of the free exchange of ideas. Midway through the book, however, Hentoff shifts gears, devoting two chapters to a minibiography of Joan Baez as a nonviolent activist, and two more chapters to the horrors of corporal punishment in the schools, which bogs down the book with too much detail and exhortation. But readers will likely find the first half of the book stirring. All ages. (July)
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