Local author to discuss founding fathers and 'misfits' who helped save free speech

Charles Slack
Charles Slack

Local author Charles Slack’s newest book, Liberty's First Crisis: Adams, Jefferson and the Misfits Who Saved Free Speech, tells the story of the 1798 Sedition Act, the crucial moment when high ideals met real-world politics and the country’s future hung in the balance.

Slack, who has been an active volunteer at The Trumbull Library, will be the special guest at an Author Talk this Saturday, April 25 at 2 p.m. at the main library on Quality Street.

“Just seven years after the First Amendment was passed as part of the Bill of Rights, John Adams' administration passed the Sedition Act of 1798, an extreme piece of legislation that made criticism of the government and its leaders a crime. Punishment included heavy fines and jail time,” a summary of the book reads. “From a loudmouth in a bar to a firebrand politician to Benjamin Franklin’s own grandson, those victimized by the Sedition Act were as varied as the country’s citizenry. Liberty’s First Crisis vividly unfolds pivotal events in the early life of the United States when free speech was so soon challenged, and the Founding Fathers and Americans struggled to define and preserve the freedoms they had fought so hard to establish.”

Slack’s book has received rave reviews from the Boston Globe, Dallas Morning News, Minneapolis Star-Tribune and others.

One reviewer, Jon Meacham, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Thomas Jefferson, wrote of the book: “For those who think that partisan conflict is a cable-driven 21st-century phenomenon, author Slack has written a powerful and engaging narrative that puts things in perspective. Slack brings one of America’s defining crises back to vivid life, reminding us that democracy has always been the tenderest of flowers.”

Slack is also the author of Blue Fairways: Three Months, Sixty Courses, No Mulligans; Hetty: The Genius and Madness of America’s First Female Tycoon, and Noble Obsession: Charles Goodyear, Charles Hancock, and the Race to Unlock the Greatest Industrial Secret of the 19th Century.

Salck led the TLS Non-Fiction Writers Group for several years and participated in the library’s Writers’ Read programs, helping aspiring and experienced writers imagine and produce.

This Saturday’s event is free, register at 203-452-5197 or Trumbullct-library.org.

Visit charlesslackauthor.com for more information.

Copies will be available for purchase and signing. Liberty’s First Crisis published by Atlantic Monthly Press, March 2015.