Our book last night was Indelible Ink: the trials of John Peter Zenger and the birth of America’s free press by Richard Kluger. Freedom of speech and the press protects all other freedoms and Zenger is commonly credited as a hero of the movement. In reality, Zenger was a printer trying to make a living to support his large family. The powers behind his selection as a hero of American freedom were a group of anti-royal governor officials who were trying to acquire as much land as possible for their own enrichment. It was a mad land-grab, with hundreds of thousands of acres at stake. Royal Governor William Cosby, who had his own plans for becoming wealthy, stood in their way. These frustrated officials used Zenger and his newspaper to publish scathing articles vivlifying the governor and trying to get him ousted. Eventually, Zenger was arrested and imprisoned and tried. His acquittal was a victory for freedom of the press and led, in part, to the American Revolution. The book is an excellent portrait of New York’s colonial government, a revelation to those of us who thought the Revolution began with the Boston Tea Party. Our conversation covered various personalities and issues presented in the book, but, of course, evolved to a discussion of Trump’s fake news, as well as Edward Snowden and the NSA, Trump’s immigration policies and much more. For a small group, it was a very pleasant evening.
Our next meeting will be on July 26th, 2018. The book to be discussed, The Book that Changed America: how Darwin’s Theory of Evolution ignited a nation by Randall Fuller, is available at the Circulation Desk. All are welcome. Happy Fourth of July to everyone.