Rights at Risk: The Limits of Liberty in Modern America, he is still dissecting the erosion of protections against arbitrary government. But here he seems more aware -- and sometimes more tolerant -- of the corrosive effect that fear has had on ordinary people's courage in this ugly era.
Shipler begins this volume with a dissection of the regime of torture put in place by the Bush administration. And, as in the previous volume, he will not let the reader forget that domestic "law enforcement" practices frequently violate the minds and bodies of designated unfortunates nearly as badly as the atrocities of Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo. He reminds us that, once permitted, torture in the guise of investigation is hard to eradicate.
Shipler surveys abuses of immigrants by an arcane and arbitrary immigration bureaucracy that denies non-citizens most meaningful protections, especially if they are of Muslim origins. And he writes insightfully about "peace officers" who easily adopt militarized responses to protests.
On the other hand, Shipler reminds us that even in the wake of 9/11, some people in this country didn't stop voicing our dissent. Academia was sometimes unexpectedly protective of its own; McCarthyism does not always win.
This two volume survey of U.S. rights does not end on a hopeful note:
This is not a hopeful volume. A fearful country is not a good place for civil liberties. Whatever happened to our courage? That's an even larger question than Shipler's two excellent surveys engage.