Book cover of Free Speech: A History from Socrates to Social Media by Jacob Mchangamaby Jacob Mchangama

“The best history of free speech ever written and the best defense of free speech ever made.” —P.J. O’Rourke

Hailed as the “first freedom,” free speech is the bedrock of democracy. But it is a challenging principle, subject to erosion in times of upheaval. Today, in democracies and authoritarian states around the world, it is on the retreat.

In Free Speech, Jacob Mchangama traces the riveting legal, political, and cultural history of this idea. Through captivating stories of free speech’s many defenders—from the ancient Athenian orator Demosthenes and the ninth-century freethinker al-Rāzī, to the anti-lynching crusader Ida B. Wells and modern-day digital activists—

Interview with the Author

Podcast Art of The Michael Shermer ShowThe Michael Shermer Show 
247. Jacob Mchangama on Free Speech: A History from Socrates to Social Media
2/8/22           109 min

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Jacob Mchangama: Free Speech (from Socrates to Social Media) 
6/24/22             52 min

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The History of Free Speech with Jacob Mchangama (S3 Ep.11)
4/16/22            81 min

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Free Speech, A History (with Jacob Mchangama)
4/22/22          52 min

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Jacob Mchangama, “Free Speech: A History from Socrates to Social Media” (Basic Books, 2022)
4/6/22            35 min

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Free Speech: a brief, contentious history
5/11/22         40 min

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The History of Free Speech from Socrates to Social Media
2/18/22           72 min

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