Libel and Academic Freedom was first published in 1968. Described as a “Communist collaborator” and a “security risk” in the literature of a right-wing extremist group, Arnold M. Rose brought suit on charges of libel against those who made the statements, Gerda Koch and others. In this book, Mr. Rose, who was a professor of sociology at the University of Minnesota and president-elect of the American Sociological Association at the time of his death this year , presents an account of the trial, which took place in Hennepin County District Court in Minneapolis in November, 1965. He also provides a thoughtful discussion of the various issues and events related to the trial and traces, as background, the history of right-wing extremist movements in this country. As Professor Rose makes clear, the significance of the case went beyond the question of personal libel because of the particular circumstances involved. For one thing, the basis of the controversial statements lay in his scholarly work as co-author of the book An American Dilemma with Gunnar Myrdal and Richard Sterner. Thus the issue of academic freedom was at stake. Another important consideration was the fact that, during part of the time the statements were made, Professor Rose was a member of the Minnesota state legislature and thus was a public official in the eyes of the law, a fact of special significance in connection with libel law. Also, there was the question of the kind of coverage which the local newspapers gave to the events leading up to the trial, and of a larger attack that was developing against the university. The author discusses all of these aspects of his case and points to some pressing problems in our society which he believes are highlighted by his own experience. The distinguished legal scholar Paul A. Freund, former Carl M. Loeb University professor, Harvard Law School, writes a foreword.
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