Eric Berkowitz is a San Francisco-based author, human rights lawyer, and journalist. His articles have appeared in The New York Times, the Washington Post, and the Los Angeles Times, as well as outlets such as Salon and the Huffington Post. His first two books, about the intersection of sex, marriage and the law over history, earned accolades worldwide. The Sunday London Times, for example, called his first book, Sex and Punishment: Four Thousand Years of Judging Desire, “Enlightening, astounding, broad-ranging and rich in detail, exciting and impressively relentless,” while the Guardian's reviewer enthused, "I don’t think I’ve ever read such an entertaining historical work."

 

 

Over the past decade, Eric has devoted his legal practice exclusively to human rights and the representation of the poor and refugees, particularly asylum seekers from Central America, Djibouti, Iran, and Mexico. Against all odds, he has never lost an asylum case. He also developed the constitutional arguments underlying a significant poverty-rights case, which was litigated by the ACLU and Bay Area Legal Aid.

 

Eric has now turned his attention to the history of censorship in the West, a project that resulted in Dangerous Ideas: A Brief History of Censorship from the Ancients to Fake News. The book brings all of Eric's analytical and storytelling talents to bear, focusing on the travails of the people, famous and obscure, who played central roles in the formation of our right to express ourselves, and exposing the motivations of both the suppressors and the suppressed. From the first Chinese emperor’s wholesale elimination of books, to the smashing of icons in Byzantium, to Henry VIII’s decree of death for anyone who “imagined” his demise, and on to the attack on Charlie Hebdo and the troll armies that swarm critics of the Trump administration, Dangerous Ideas entertains while revealing the base impulses behind censorship and thought suppression, leading to startling results.

 

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© ERIC BERKOWITZ 2020