James Goodale’s Fighting for the Press (CUNY Journalism Press, $20) is an account, by the New York Times’s counsel, of the crucial Supreme Court battle 40 years ago for the right to publish the Pentagon Papers. The NY Times and Washington Post were accused of criminal treachery for publishing the trove of documents about the conduct of the Vietnam war. Nixon, determined to punish both newspapers for endangering national security, moved for prior restraint. The Supreme Court, by a 6-3 majority, voted that the papers should be free to publish – thereby making it almost impossible for news organisations to be censored in advance by governments. Goodale is a passionate defender of First Amendment rights and his insider account of this crucial struggle is surprisingly racy – and extremely important.

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