A graduate of Antioch College, I was a newspaper reporter for several years before moving to New York to attend Columbia University. I received a Ph.D. in American history in 1992 and published "Alfred E. Smith: The Happy Warrior "(Hill and Wang) in 2002 and "From the Palmer Raids to the Patriot Act: A History of the Fight for Free Speech in America" (Beacon Press) in 2007. My latest book, "Drunks: An American History" (Beacon Press), was published in 2017.

I am executive director of the National Coalition Against Censorship, an alliance of 56 national non-profits that opposes all forms of censorship.

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