Summary of Indelible Ink

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  • Comprehensive
  • Eloquent
  • Engaging


The world has always seen the United States as a bastion of freedom of the press. The First Amendment of the 1789 US Bill of Rights marked the first time in history that a nation made a solemn pledge, in writing, to guarantee free expression as a “fundamental precept of governance.” American freedom of the press traces its legal foundation back to the John Peter Zenger trial in New York in 1735. Pulitzer Prize-winning author Richard Kluger tells the history of the trial, what led up to it and how to understand its significant historic and modern implications. Kluger reports that by 2014, according to Reporters Without Borders, the United States ranked only 46th in the world in press freedom, primarily due to the “Department of Justice’s ‘aggressive prosecution of whistleblowers’ and government security leakers.” getAbstract recommends Kluger’s eloquent account of the landmark Zenger trial and its repercussions to history buffs and everyone concerned about press freedom.  

About the Author

A two-time National Book Award finalist for Simple Justice and The Paper, Richard Kluger won the Pulitzer Prize for Ashes to Ashes, a history of the cigarette industry.



Freedom of Speech

In the 1730s, some four decades before the United States became a nation, The New-York Weekly Journal became the first newspaper in America to champion press freedom. The saga of its publisher, John Peter Zenger, in many ways, inspired press freedom in the US.

Press Censorship

Printing and publishing are two of civilization’s most important advances. The development of typesetting and printing released ordinary people from the edicts and opinions of “secular and ecclesiastical authorities” by making more information widely available. The religious and governmental entities of the 1600s understood that the broad dissemination of information posed a direct challenge to their power and authority. As a result, they imposed strict censorship rules forbidding the printing of subversive information – and they decided what was subversive.

The Star Chamber

In England, press censorship began in 1529 when King Henry VIII banned 100 books. Law enforcement could prosecute anyone who owned a book that lacked the king’s royal imprimatur. English censorship grew increasingly...

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    R. A. 1 year ago
    I love it. <br>A great book. <br> <br>I knew abour king Henry the VIII and his wifes but not about book denies.