In State of Silence, political historian Sam Lebovic uncovers the troubling history of the Espionage Act. First passed in 1917, it was initially used to punish critics of World War I. Yet as Americans began to balk at the act's restrictions on political dissidents and the press, the government turned its focus toward keeping its secrets under wraps. The resulting system for classifying information is absurdly cautious, staggeringly costly, and shrouded in secrecy, preventing ordinary Americans from learning what their country is doing in their name, both at home and abroad.
Shedding new light on the bloated governmental security apparatus that's weighing our democracy down, State of Silence offers the definitive history of America's turn toward secrecy--and its staggering human costs.
Sam Lebovic is a professor in the department of history and art history at George Mason University. He is the author of the award-winning Free Speech and Unfree News and A Righteous Smokescreen. His work has appeared in the Los Angeles Review of Books, Boston Globe, Washington Post, and more. He lives in Washington, DC.
Lebovic will be in conversation with Tim Shenk, an assistant professor of history at George Washington University and co-editor of Dissent, the longest running democratic socialist journal in the United States. His latest book, Realigners: Partisan Hacks, Political Visionaries, and the Struggle to Rule American Democracy, has just been released in paperback.